The Fabric of Reality

The Science of Parallel Universes - and Its Implications
Narrated by: Walter Dixon
Length: 14 hrs and 26 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (141 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Author of the New York Times best seller The Beginning of Infinity, David Deutsch, explores the four most fundamental strands of human knowledge: quantum physics, and the theories of knowledge, computation, and evolution - and their unexpected connections. Taken together, these four strands reveal a deeply integrated, rational, and optimistic worldview. It describes a unified fabric of reality that is objective and comprehensible, in which human action and thought are central. 

With new preface exclusive to the audiobook, read by the author.

©1997, 1998 David Deutsch (P)2018 David Deutsch

What listeners say about The Fabric of Reality

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    2 out of 5 stars

Such a disappointment

If you happen to find the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum reality to be, shall we say, difficult to swallow, stay away. That is, unless you enjoy being insulted by the author for failing “to know better”, as he castigates most theoretical physicists for doing. I will spare your precious time and my thumbs and will not go into the full specifics of what you can expect, but in essence, after spending the first chapter going into great length to explain why instrumentalism and reductionism are poor approaches (which is a fair conclusion), David sadly then launches into a thought experiment whereby he (seriously) claims that the details of laser penumbras and multiple-slit experiments necessarily (yes, really) imply there are at least trillions of parallel universes all around us, apparently branching constantly from every possible particle into completely unexplained spaces, by unexplained means via completely unspecified power schemes, and if you doubt this, you are clearly a reductionist and he is disappointed in you. For extra credit, he actually implies that any other explanation of reality doesn’t actually explain anything at all. Only this one does. Yes, he really does that. And the book only goes further down this path from there. If this sounds like an enjoyable way to spend several dozen hours of your life, by all means, spend your credits and purchase this title. If, in the other hand, you prefer to hear actual proper valid arguments made, and if you expect grandiose statements to be supported by equally grand proof, look elsewhere. Here you will find little more than belittlement as basis, and an apparent inability to accept that we simply do not yet have a good explanation for QM just yet. Which makes David’s attempts to paint the MW interpretation as the brave truth all the more ironic. Which, sadly, to me summarizes my view of this entire work. That, and the word “bitter”... though unfortunately in this case, it isn’t followed by the word “truth”. But that’s me; perhaps you’ll see it very differently. If you intend to purchase this, I sincerely hope so for your blood pressure’s sake. PS - to be fair, it is narrated well.

38 people found this helpful

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Profound and eye opening

The author breaks down the current state of scientific theory about our universe so that anyone can understand it. I learned a lot, and particularly lived his argument against solipsism, which prior to reading this I would have taken far more seriously. His explanation of how it mirrored the views of the Spanish Inquisition by taking our best explanation and adding extra complexity was very convincing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what our current best explanations are for the world around us.

1 person found this helpful

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The foremost genius of our time.

Don't listen to the bad reviews, it just went over their heads. It's worth it.

1 person found this helpful

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One of the best books I’ve ever read but one of the worst readers

David Deutsch is a certified genius and this book is required reading for all of humanity. I didn’t realize until I read this book: 1) I was a “reductionist” for thinking of us as a Tegmark “atom heap” (Deutsch argues matter creates mind AND mind creates matter); 2) it’s explanatory not predictive power that makes theory valuable; 3) “many worlds” is the best explanation for quantum theory measurements; 4) when considered together, his “four strands” of Popperian Epistemology, Darwin/Dawkins evolution, Turing/quantum computation, and quantum theory all have more to say about each other than they do about reality alone; 5) there is no “foundation” and it’s fallibility all the way down; 6) the meat computers in our head are already “AI”; And much more. HOWEVER it would be hard to conceive a WORSE reader for this book. The “performance” was utterly robotic and fake sounding. The reader seemed to be able to mouth vocalizations that are understandable as “English language sounds” while simultaneously avoiding any kind of meta data (pauses in the correct spaces, emphasis, inflection, etc) that would convey MEANING and UNDERSTANDING of English as a language, much less this book. I seriously thought the joke at the end was going to be that it turned out to have been read by a computer. A bad computer... David Deutsch has such a wonderful voice and sense of humor — I would so love it if he were to read this book himself. The other sad coda here — this SAME terrible reader reads David Deutch’s other book the “beginning of infinity.” Bummer.

3 people found this helpful

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Deutsch is ambitious

it was a great listen. it gave me amazing ideas about Evolution, Computation, Quantum Mechanics, Time travel, virtual reality and science broadly. A lot to digest from this rather short work, but well paced and entertaining enough that it cant be put down. It covers new ground for even well-learned students of any of the main disciplines he discusses. Truly novel and interesting work. Narration is well above average.

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MUST FOR SERIOUS STUDENT OF DEUTSCH POPPER DAWKINS

Doesn't matter if you read Fabric of Reality first or afterwards. Both books are understably already historically important. Bonus: great narration!

5 people found this helpful

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Dogmatic and pateonizing

While Iove the topics, I couldn’t bear the style, which reminded me of some professors at university who - dogmatic, free of doubt, condescending.

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Good, but not so great as I thought it would be

That David Deutsch is an extraordinary thinker I already knew, and that book do provide a lot of insights in the ways in wich our knowledge is interrelated, however I certainly didn't expect to see basically every philosophical and scientific position that disagrees with him being so misrepresented. Specially through the end of the book he seems to argues for the many-worlds interpretation as a solution to the free will problem, I fail to see how it could be, if anything a multitude of universes in wich every choice is already taken makes even less of free will that the other possibilities, our choices don't affect anything and seems to be pretty futile, since we can only at max choose what universe would we inhabit (though he don't state how), this is a collapse in morality since you can't have any significant impact on the overall well-being of the whole reality or even a local part of it, you just choose the outcome that will be better for you but objectively they all come true anyway. if that's how reality is like I'm ok with it, I wouldn't argue on moral grounds, I think we must accept the truth whatever it takes us, but he's pulling the moral argument and putting in a multiverse interpretation that I don't see fit. The Omega point discution is more optimist thought, I do believe that we are simulating/computation machines and will evolve to even greater levels eventually simulating whole new worlds and constious beings in it, in fact some would argue it had already happen and we're in it, but there's no way to know, anyway, I think that are some ways in wich a sufficient inteligent computer in the far end of the universe could simulate or even recreate other universes and that might be a strange way in wich universes reproduce, we can even think of a natural selection of universes (Type I universes I mean) in wich the ones that develop such advanced civilizations have greater chance of being reproduced.

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Too complex for audio version

The book is about very complex subjects and the figures (pictures) in the book are supposed to help understand the complex ideas of Quantum Mechanics. But since the figures cannot be seen in an audio version then why was the audio version made for such a complex subject matter? There was no warning or alert informing the buyer of the audio version that the book has illustrations. It is a loss of productivity and wealth when one invests in creating formats that have low impact. Oh well, I lost money for the audio version but the subject is fascinating and worth reading about so I will now buy the print version.

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Deeply provocative.

A fascinating and provocative examination of the implications of quantum physics and their impacts on the intellectual quest for understanding of life and existence. Provocative and challenging. I found it most satisfying.

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  • Dmitry Popov
  • 06-29-19

Disappointing

90% of the book are trivial things and banalities the author spends too much time on, chewing on the same things over and over, making the book boring. There are some interesting and nontrivial ideas but they don’t get enough explanations and justification, so the most interesting parts remain dubious and controversial.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-27-19

Dry, poorly presented, needlessly convoluted

The biggest problem with this presentation is not the complex and difficult material, but the thoroughly unegaging, dry and monotous reading by the orator. He does nothing to breath life or interest into this difficult and complex source material, but lumbers through in a monotone and discontinuous way, emphasising strange syllables and words, and presenting a generally hard to listen to audiotrack.