What do we know about the world, the past, and ourselves?
Very recently, just in the course of the last century and a half, there have been spectacular advances in our enquiries into these matters. Using the most general labels for them we call them science, history and psychology respectively. What has been achieved in them, and where is our new knowledge leading us? These successes are the result of new technologies of enquiry which have vastly extended humanity’s reach backwards in time and across previously inaccessible scales of distance, from the remotest galaxies down to the intricacies of the human brain, and yet further down to the internal structure of matter. Each step in these advances has in its turn raised new questions, questions that beforehand were not possible to ask; and one of the chief results has been to expose a paradox: the paradox of knowledge, which is that the more we know, the greater becomes the extent of our ignorance. We used to think that enquiry diminishes ignorance: the opposite is true.
The aim of "Frontiers of Knowledge" is to demonstrate and explain this point, and to make two further, related, and important points: that our increased knowledge and correlative increased ignorance teach us much that is new about the challenges facing enquiry, and that we need to place redoubled emphasis in our education and culture on reconnecting the different branches of knowledge so that we do not lose an overall sense of ourselves and our world.
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PRESENTER BIO: A. C. Grayling CBE MA DPhil (Oxon) FRSA FRSL is the Founder and Principal of New College of the Humanities at Northeastern University, and its Professor of Philosophy. He is also a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. He is the author of over thirty books of philosophy, biography, history of ideas, and essays. He was for a number of years a columnist on the Guardian, the Times, and Prospect magazine. He has contributed to many leading newspapers in the UK, US and Australia, and to BBC radios 4, 3 and the World Service, for which he did the annual 'Exchanges at the Frontier' series; and he has often appeared on television. He has twice been a judge on the Booker Prize, in 2014 serving as the Chair of the judging panel. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Vice President of Humanists UK, Patron of the Defence Humanists, Honorary Associate of the Secular Society, and a Patron of Dignity in Dying.
- View all A. C. Grayling books available at the Library
- View all A. C. Grayling ebooks available through WVDeli with your OCPL library card
- View all A. C. Grayling ebooks and streaming audiobooks available through Hoopla with your OCPL library card
FEATURED BOOK: The Frontiers of Knowledge: What We Know About Science, History and The Mind
[Author: A. C. Grayling; Publisher: Penguin (May 6, 2021) | Reserve a copy from the Library (option coming soon - not available in the U.S. until May 2021) ]
"Once again, A. C. Grayling brings satisfying order to daunting subjects. To understand the world, we must appreciate both what is known and what remains to be known, and no one can instill that understanding more effectively than Grayling." —Steven Pinker
"A remarkable, readable and authoritative account of the full breadth of human knowledge, with insightful philosophical commentary that you might expect from Anthony Grayling. This was an ambitious undertaking and Grayling has achieved here what few others could do. How he has mastered so much, so thoroughly, is nothing short of amazing. I was particularly pleased by how up-to-date and accurate his treatment of modern science is. Bravo!"
—Lawrence M. Krauss, author of A Universe from Nothing
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