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An Essay by Louis Dudek

The Birth of Reason

Birth of Reason Cover

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The Birth of Reason

In The Birth of Reason Louis Dudek establishes the link between ancient pre-Socratic Atomism and modern quantum mechanics. In characteristically unencumbered terms, Dudek shows how this revolutionary philosophy, the invention of thinkers from Ioanian Greek trading cities, has been consistently misrepresented and resisted. Atomism nevertheless marks the transition from primitive mythological thinking (mythos) to the abstract, concept-based rationality (logos) that informs our modern approach to an ultimately unknowable reality.

This essay “is a kind of summation of myself — gnothi seautón.... I am neither a materialist nor a theist, really, nor am I altogether an agnostic. As I say in [the] essay, ‘the ultimate reality is unknowable,’ but I am sure that if it were knowable it would satisfy both the materialist and the theist, and much more that we cannot imagine.”

Identified by Wynne Francis as Canada’s first “man of letters,” Dudek once again ventures into new intellectual territory — and reveals the underpinnings of his own remarkable cultural, social, and economic thought.

Critical Comment

“If anyone could make the Ionian skeptics palatable to a generation raised on music and television, it’s Louis Dudek.”

— The Ottawa Citizen

“...the highlight is ... 39 fragments from the pre-Socratics that Dudek astutely describes as reading ‘like a philosophical poem.’”

— The Montreal Gazette

“...includes the thesis that the scientific conception of the universe ... is the most advanced stage of religious evolution.”

— Canadian Book Review Annual

Author Louis Dudek

Louis Dudek Author

Author Biography

Louis Dudek, born in Montreal, was educated both at McGill and Columbia University. In New York, as a young poet, he corresponded extensively with Ezra Pound. Back in Montreal, he joined the McGill faculty, where his lectures on literature became legendary. In combination with other key figures in the first and second waves of Canadian poetic modernism, he commenced many of the most important small magazines and literary presses of the mid-century. As a writer, critic, and cultural observer, his career was dedicated to ongoing intellectual and artistic discussion. In the years before his death in 2001, Dudek was justly identified as Canada’s premier man of letters.

The Birth of Reason, Louis Dudek, 111 pp., 5 1/4 x 9, Belles Lettres, December 1994

ISBN: 978-0-919688-41-4 (paper). . .$12.95

ISBN: 978-0-919688-43-8, (hardcover) . . . $26.95

* This book is “perfect bound” with an add-on hand bound cover, no dust jacket.

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Also by the Author

Dk / Some Letters of Ezra Pound, L. Dudek, ed., 149 pp., 6 x 9, 1974, Belles Lettres — ISBN: 0-919688-05-5 (paper) ... $14.95

Literature and the Press, 242 pp., 5.5 x 8.75, The Ryerson Press 1960, Essay — ISBN: 0-919688-50-0 (Hard Cover) ... $27.00

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