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John Brockman

What we believe but cannot prove

Every year the Edge Foundation asks a question of a selection of eminent intellectuals. In 2005 the question was 'What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it', and this book lists the answers that were given. This gives them the opportunity to discuss those ideas which are important but haven't quite reached the stage of general acceptance. However, the replies are short - often less than a page - which doesn't give much of an opportunity to explain the details of the concepts mentioned. But it does make it easy to read, so it's just the sort of book to dip into at odd moments.

The book does get a bit samey after a while, when you get to the nth contributor telling you their ideas about the nature of consciousness, and it would certainly be better to have fewer but longer articles on the ideas which are on the borderline of acceptance. The cynic in me says that to some extent this book is an advertisement for the books which the contributors have written, although actually that isn't so bad - its useful to be able to get an idea of how authors think in order to decide whether to read more of their works. info
Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 0060841818
Salesrank: 1225302
Published: 2006 Harper Perennial
Amazon price $11.05
Marketplace:New from $4.80:Used from $0.99
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Paperback 288 pages  
ISBN: 1416522611
Salesrank: 669108
Weight:0.49 lbs
Published: 2006 Simon & Schuster UK
Amazon price £11.99
Marketplace:New from £2.75:Used from £0.01
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Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 0060841818
Salesrank: 444099
Weight:0.85 lbs
Published: 2006 Harper Perennial
Amazon price CDN$ 14.60
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 12.27:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description

More than one hundred of the world's leading thinkers write about things they believe in, despite the absence of concrete proof

Scientific theory, more often than not, is born of bold assumption, disparate bits of unconnected evidence, and educated leaps of faith. Some of the most potent beliefs among brilliant minds are based on supposition alone -- yet that is enough to push those minds toward making the theory viable.

Eminent cultural impresario, editor, and publisher of Edge (, John Brockman asked a group of leading scientists and thinkers to answer the question: What do you believe to be true even though you cannot prove it? This book brings together the very best answers from the most distinguished contributors.

Thought-provoking and hugely compelling, this collection of bite-size thought-experiments is a fascinating insight into the instinctive beliefs of some of the most brilliant minds today.