ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Realist Take on the Big Questions

Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking, London: John Murray, 2018; pp xxiii + 232, `650 /£14.99.

The review is an outcome of numerous discussions with Aravindhan Nagarajan, T Jayaraman, Tarun Menon, and Tejal Kanitkar.

The book by Stephen Hawking, published posthumously, relives the old tradition of scientists exploring questions that fall, more appropriately, within the purview of philosophy of science. While in one sense the book can, of course, be termed a popular science book, it is in its philosophical implications that the discussion around the “Big Questions” seems to excel. The book is a compilation of what can perhaps be called Hawking’s final thoughts on 10 grand themes, questions that somehow remain unresolved. The noted physicist and long-time friend of Hawking, Kip S Thorne, in his introduction to the book, reveals that Hawking was still working on the answers to these questions at the time of his death, indicating that the book was a work in progress.

The book begins with the premise that the world is “real,” and is governed by objective laws that are “knowable” with an increasing degree of accuracy. Hawking clearly is not ready to give away the notion of truth. It is indeed refreshing to receive a book of this nature, reinforcing the belief in science, at a time when one witnesses a persistent sceptical stance, at least within the social sciences.

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Updated On : 1st Mar, 2021
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