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There Is No Theory of Everything


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Table of Contents

1 First Encounters

1.1 Physical vantage points

1.2 Here Come the Philosophers

1.3 A brief history

2 Venturing into the Microcosm

2.1 Quantum worlds

2.2 Which way did it go?

2.3 Entanglement and Irreducibility

2.4 Quantum emergence

3 The Aggregation of Particles

3.1 The arrow of time

3.2 A Taste of Condensed Matter

3.3 Macroscopic Phases

3.4 Helium-3

4 When Matter Reorganizes Itself

4.1 Self-Consistency

4.2 Renormalization

4.3 Phases, protectorates, and emergence

4.4 From crystals to elementary particles

5 Beyond the Linear Approximation

5.1 Chaos theory

5.2 Self-organized patterns

5.3 Displays of temporal order

6 The Rise of Effective Theories

6.1 A single neuron

6.2 Descending down the rabbit hole

6.3 Re-emerging from the rabbit hole

7 Social Emergen


7.1 Social Networks and Norm Circles

7.2 The Wealth of Nations

7.3 Social Beliefs and Downward Causation

8 Larger Lessons

8.1 Science's Organizing Principles

8.2 Science and Religion

8.3 Religion and Emergence


About the Author

Lars English is an Associate Professor of Physics at Dickinson College. He received his B.S. in 1996 from Denison University, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2003. His research explores nonlinear phenonmena in complex systems, such as the spontaneous formation of localized patterns in lattices or the synchronization of oscillators.
Lars enjoys contemplating connections between science, philosophy and spirituality, meditating, hiking in beautiful Pennsylvania, and --most of all--spending time with his wife Anita and three daughters Anya, Chelsea and Nalanda.


"It is a good introduction to a scientific approach to emergence, for one thing. Its scientific explanations are inviting to a lay readership prepared to work at them, and in most cases delightfully laid out. The presentation of renormalisation and critical behaviour is very good indeed." (Tom McLeish, Science & Christian Belief, Vol. 31 (1), 2019)

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