[Read in August of 2009 but was delayed in writing the review.]
Labyrinths of Reason: paradox, puzzles, and the frailty of knowledge by William Poundstone.
Ouch, my head hurts. How do we really know we're not just brains-in-vats living in a simulated reality?
This is more or less the central theme of the book which guides the reader through various thought experiments designed to probe the depths of meaning, understanding, and knowing. Along the way Poundstone discusses various topics such as:
- Deductive and inductive reasoning
- Poincare's universe doubling riddle
- Complexity Theory and Satisfiability
- Computability Theory and NP-Completeness
I could go on but doing so would still do the book an injustice. It's a great book that covers a lot of interesting topics. Well worth reading if you are interested in these kinds of things but be prepared to get a few headaches from excessive thinking. I'm planning to re-read it perhaps a year from now to try to better absorb the material.