, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 653-656
Date: 06 Dec 2011

Lawful patterns in an orderless universe

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In his new book, Joe Rosen, a theoretical physicist, sets out to determine the limits of scientific knowledge. His primary focus lies on the limits of knowledge in physics. Rosen understands his project as “a complement for, even an antidote to, books that create the misimpression that science can explain everything” (xi). Most importantly and contrary to what proponents of a “theory of everything” suggest, Rosen argues for the claim that the “universe as a whole” cannot be a proper subject of scientific research because it is intrinsically orderless and lawless. However, Rosen does not deny that science discovers lawful patterns (and explains the existence of some of them by more fundamental theories). Accordingly, Rosen’s guiding question is: “How can there be both order and law within the lawless universe?” (xi). Although the book is devoted to a philosophical topic, it should be emphasized that Rosen does not intend to address an audience of professional philosophers. Rather, his i