New Books Network

Dominic Pettman, “Human Error” (UMinnesota, 2011)/”Look at the Bunny” (Zero Books, 2013)
“The humans are dead.” Whether or not you recognize the epigram from Flight of the Conchords (and if not, there are worse ways to spend a few minutes than by looking here, and I recommend sticking around for the “binary solo”), Dominic Pettman‘s Human Error: Species-Being and Media Machines (University... Read More
Stephen Crain, “The Emergence of Meaning” (Cambridge UP, 2012)
It’s not surprising that human language reflects and respects logical relations – logic, in some sense, ‘works’. For linguists, this represents a potentially interesting avenue of approach to the much-debated question of innateness. Is there knowledge about logic that is present in humans prior to any experience? And if so,... Read More
Douglas Rushkoff, “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now” (Current, 2013)
Humans understand the world through stories, some short and some long. But what happens when the stories become so short that they, well, aren’t stories at all? In Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now (Current, 2013), Douglas Rushkoff explores this question. He points out that always-on, always “new” digital communications... Read More
Helen Longino, “Studying Human Behavior: How Scientists Investigate Aggression and Sexuality” (University of Chicago Press, 2013)
What explains human behavior? It is standard to consider answers from the perspective of a dichotomy between nature and nurture, with most researchers today in agreement that it is both. For Helen Longino, Clarence Irving Lewis Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, the “both” answer misses the fact that the... Read More
Joseph November, “Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2012)
There are pigeons, cats, and Martians here. There are CT scanners, dentures, computers large enough to fill rooms, war games, and neural networks. In Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), Joe November mobilizes this ecology of instruments and objects, people and programs, in... Read More
Sam Sommers, “Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World” (Riverhead Books, 2011)
Human behavior is notoriously complex and difficult to predict. For decades, social psychologists have been exploring situational variables and how they impact our behavior. We might like to think that we behave consistently in various contexts, but that turns out not to be the case. In his book, Situations Matter:... Read More
Victor Stenger, “God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion” (Prometheus, 2012)
Are science and religion compatible, or are they fundamentally different ways of viewing the world? In the book,God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion(Prometheus, 2012), physicist Victor Stenger uses his knowledge of science to argue that the latter option is the case. Though acknowledging that... Read More