Given the prevailing consensus among cosmologists that the universe had its beginning approximately 15 billion years ago, and that it will reach its end in the remote yet foreseeable future, we face the momentous intellectual challenge of how to assimilate these scientific claims into our fundamental world view. In this work the distinguished philosopher Milton Munitz provides a lucid account of the chief empirical findings and theories of recent cosmology and a systematic assessment of their broader philosophical implications.
"The great merit of this book is that it provides a contemporary approach to the treatment of questions central to classical Western philosophy and religion, e.g., What is the nature and origin of the universe? Does the universe have a purpose? The method has its source both in contemporary science and in philosophy."--Choice "This is a book to be argued with, argued from, listened to, objected to, learned from, respected, agreed with, and disagreed with... Munitz, far from proposing all the answers in either the philosophical or the physical discussions, poses the questions and provides tantalizing directions of inquiry for the reader."--Paul A. Robinson, Jr., The Christian Science Monitor "For those who live with complete faith in the power of reason and who believe that the observable cosmos is all there is or was or ever will be, Munitz's Cosmic Understanding should be a profoundly disturbing book. In a thoughtful and closely structured account, Munitz defends two intertwined concepts. First, reality, often depicted solely as a simple physical process, albeit wondrous and infinite, is actually something mysteriously deeper. In particular, he argues that the evolutionary nature of the universe points to some larger transcendental quality. Secondly, he reasons that the perceptual world is a human construct, always only incompletely knowable... he has argued brilliantly for the depth and thickness of reality."--Owen Gingerich, Nature