The Outer Limits of Reason: What Science, Mathematics, and Logic Cannot Tell Us
By Noson S. Yanofsky
(MIT Press, 424 pages, $29.95)
How rarely Reason guides the stubborn Choice / Rules the bold Hand, or prompts the suppliant Voice.” Dr. Johnson didn’t know the half of it. Not only does reason play a dismayingly small part in human affairs, but reason itself has built-in limitations that prevent our employing it in many cases where we should like to. Thanks to the work of 20th-century logicians, we now know that even mathematics, popularly thought to be the concentrated essence of reason, has zones of impenetrability.