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Foreword Magazine

Sian Griffiths


Knowing someone's view of possible futures gives a deep insight into the way they think, and so a book containing essays on the future by well known thinkers would be very important indeed. Predictions: 30 great minds on the future is not such a book. Certainly they have contributions from eminent thinkers, but these are often only a page in length, which is only enough to repeat what we already know. Most of the space for each person is given to a biographical introduction written by a journalist who interviewed them.

However, this still leads to a book which is worth reading - it gives a taster of 30 significant writers, which the reader may then investigate further. I certainly intend to look into some of the works of Amartya Sen and his ideas on social welfare.

The book is also about postmodernism - clearly the interviewers wanted to find out how this affected their subjects. Some were unashamedly postmodernist, others thought that it was total nonsense. Perhaps more interesting are those such as Sen, who is criticised by postmodernists for not joining in with their ideas - but then he's a real challenge to the establishment rather than just its jester. Then again there's Sherry Turkle, who from a postmodernist background has developed some interesting insights into our relationship with computers. info
Hardcover 352 pages  
ISBN: 0192862103
Salesrank: 7918247
Published: 2000 Oxford University Press
Amazon price $11.12
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Hardcover 352 pages  
ISBN: 0192862103
Salesrank: 2227336
Weight:0.9 lbs
Published: 2000 Oxford Paperbacks
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Hardcover 328 pages  
ISBN: 0192862103
Salesrank: 4074167
Weight:0.9 lbs
Published: 2000 Oxford Univ Pr
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Product Description
Here are a series of tantalizing predictions about the coming century, delivered by thirty of today's greatest minds--including Stephen Jay Gould, Daniel Dennett, Sherry Turkle, Steven Weinberg, Noam Chomsky, Umberto Eco, and John Kenneth Galbraith.
This glittering list of contributors includes Nobel laureates, bestselling writers, intellectual icons, and scientists at the cutting edge of research. Readers can sample everything from Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe's hopes for the future of Africa in the next century, to feminist Andrea Dworkin's dream of a new Jerusalem for women. Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke serves up a series of startling visions, including the possibility that, by the year 2050, large sea creatures will be found beneath the ice-covered oceans of Jupiter's moon Europa. Steven Pinker suggests that the completion of the Humane Genome Project will lead to a sudden jump in our knowledge about the genetic basis of our emotions and our learning abilities. And Richard Dawkins believes that the ancient mind-body problem will be solved--not by philosophers but by scientists. Each prediction is preceded by an intriguing profile of the author--blending a lively interview with biographical data--which conveys a vivid sense of the individual while setting their work in context and explaining their theories or inventions. These fascinating interviews, previously published in The Times Higher Education Supplement, give us instant capsule portraits of some of our most brilliant living thinkers.
Predictions is an exciting roadmap to the future as well as a vivid snapshot of the state of human knowledge at the end of the millennium.