A Little Holiday Reading – Robinson, Rovelli and Carroll

Just received three books in time for some holiday reading, all ordered locally via The Guisborough Bookshop.

Mentioned all three in passing already.

Trivium 21c by Martin Robinson is focussed on the Trivium of three complementary ways of knowing, called here Grammar, Dialectic & Rhetoric. The point being that a complete worldview needs all three. I’m betting this epistemology will turn out to be a node<>edge transformation of the three ontologies here, that is fully equivalent and simply and alternative expression. Robinson however is new to me.

Carlo Rovelli I’m already a big fan of, not so much his Brief Lessons as his Reality is Not What it Seems. His latest The Order of Time seems to be a continuation looking at time and causation not being what they seem either. I appear to share Rovelli’s fundamental information ontology, and I’m forever pointing out that causation and hence time are weirder that our common intuitions so I’m expecting to find more reinforcement. Given the recent celebrations of the life of another physicist who authored a very famous book about time, intriguing and reassuring to find no Hawking in the index, but plenty of Democritus, Bach, Gödel and Boltzmann.

Sean Carroll I’ve not read before, but have observed his sci-comms and observations on others. As I mentioned in the immediately previous post, I’m pretty sure Carroll has a misguided anthropic blind-spot at the root of his worldview but, that aside, both his physics and his communications seem intelligible and in good faith. Especially looking forward to his “poetic naturalism” which rings of at least two components of the trivium / triad. I have high hopes for The Big Picture, despite the cover endorsement from Brian Cox, because the index does include Dan Dennett and further endorsements from Rovelli and Sabine Hossenfelder and he does seem to understand – like Dennett – where Sam Harris gets it wrong.

Regarding Carroll’s blind-spot, Rick Ryals characterised the problem, and I would apply it to both Carroll and Harris:

“your personal cosmology
is your worldview
is your ideology”

People who strongly espouse free-thought and science often have this ideological blind-spot imho. Even the freest thinkers have ideologies.

I may be some time.

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