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Rebecca Goldstein, photo by Stephen Pinker
Rebecca Goldstein


NYS Writers Institute, March 23, 2010
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Standish Room, Science Library
8:00 p.m. Reading | Standish Room, Science Library

Rebecca Goldstein, philosopher, MacArthur Fellow, and author, will discuss her satirical new novel, “36 Arguments for the Existence of God” (2010) on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. in the Standish Room, Science Library, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m. the author will present an informal seminar in the same location.  The events are free and open to the public and sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and UAlbany’s Center for Jewish Studies.


Rebecca Goldstein,
writer, professor of philosophy, and winner of a MacArthur “Genius Award,” is the author of the new novel, “36 Arguments for the Existence of God” (2010), the humorous tale of a celebrity psychology professor, and his struggles with fame, truth, illusion, atheism and belief.

In a “Washington Post” review, Ron Charles said, “A brainy, compassionate, divinely witty novel… in her cerebral fiction she dances across disciplines with delight…. One of the funniest [academic satires] ever written….” Writing in the “Christian Science Monitor,” Yvonne Zipp said, “Thoughtful, witty, and –  I cannot stress enough –  really entertaining, ‘36 Arguments’ is part campus comedy, part romantic farce, part philosophical treatise. It is also, without question, the smartest kid in class. .... How many works of fiction can tackle thorny questions such as theodicy and still make you laugh? Not since ‘The Tao of Pooh’ has philosophy been so much fun.”

36 Arguments for the Existence of GodGoldstein’s previous novels include “Properties of Light” (2000), “Mazel” (1995), winner of the National Jewish Book Award, and “The Mind-Body Problem” (1983). A “New York Times” Notable Book, “Properties of Light” tells the story of a strange triangle of intellectual and personal relationships among physicists at an elite eastern university. “Times” reviewer Sylvia Brownrigg called it, “a novel of cool grace and dark lyricism, lit by the imaginative fire of physics and its improbable cosmologies....”

Goldstein is also the author of two acclaimed biographies, “Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity” (2006), and “Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel” (2005). Winner of the 2006 Koret International Jewish Book Award in Jewish Thought, “Betraying Spinoza” offers a portrait of the celebrated 17th century Dutch philosopher, formally excommunicated by the Jewish community in 1656 for “heretical” and “pantheistic” views at the precocious age of 23.  Writing in the “New York Observer,” Hilary Putnam said, “Beautifully crafted. What seem like separate issues…. come together as if by themselves (the sure sign of a fine artist!) to answer the puzzle: how to understand Spinoza the human being, a man for whom reason itself was a kind of salvation.”

 “Incompleteness,” the biography of Austrian-American mathematician Kurt Gödel (1906-1978), was named one of the Best Books of 2005 by “Discover,” the “New York Sun,” and the “Chicago Tribune.” Writing in “Salon,” Laura Miller called it, “Masterful.... an eminently lucid explanation of Gödel’s theorem and its implications...” Gregory Chaitin of the “Journal of Scientific Exploration” said, “What a wonderful book! Finally, a biographer worthy of Gödel!... Finally someone who understands Gödel!”

Married to bestselling cognitive neuroscientist Stephen Pinker, Goldstein has taught philosophy at Barnard, Columbia, Rutgers, Brandeis and Trinity College. Since 2007, she has been conducting research under the sponsorship of the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. In 2008, she served as a judge for the National Book Award in Fiction.

The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and UAlbany’s Center for Jewish Studies.


For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.