The Duck That Won the Lottery: 100 New Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher

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From the author of the "hugely entertaining"(Publishers Weekly) The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten, lessons in debunking the faulty arguments we hear every day

This latest book from the pop philosophy author of The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten tackles an endlessly fascinating area of popular debate-the faulty argument. Julian Baggini provides a rapid-fire selection of short, stimulating, and entertaining quotes from a wide range of famous people in politics, the media, and entertainment, including Donald Rumsfeld, Emma Thompson, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, and Chris Martin. Each entry takes as its starting point an example of highly questionable-though oddly persuasive-reasoning from a broad variety of subjects. As Baggini teases out the logic in the illogical, armchair philosophers and aficionados of the absurd will find themselves nodding their heads as they laugh out loud. The Duck That Won the Lottery is perfect fodder for any cocktail party and pure pleasure for anyone who loves a good brain twister.
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About the author

Julian Baggini is the editor of The Philosopher’s Magazine.
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4.0
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Apr 28, 2009
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781101050415
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Language
English
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Genres
Games & Activities / Logic & Brain Teasers
Philosophy / Logic
Reference / Quotations
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Freakonomics of math—a math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands

The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do—the whole world is shot through with it.

Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of our world. It’s a science of not being wrong, hammered out by centuries of hard work and argument. Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does “public opinion” really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer?

How Not to Be Wrong presents the surprising revelations behind all of these questions and many more, using the mathematician’s method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman—minus the jargon. Ellenberg chases mathematical threads through a vast range of time and space, from the everyday to the cosmic, encountering, among other things, baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, and the existence of God.

Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need. Math, as Ellenberg says, is “an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength.” With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.
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