New Books Network

Adrian Currie, “Rock, Bone, and Ruin: An Optimist’s Guide to the Historical Sciences” (MIT Press, 2018)
The “historical sciences”—geology, paleontology, and archaeology—have made extraordinary progress in advancing our understanding of the deep past. How has this been possible, given that the evidence they have to work with offers mere traces of the past? In Rock, Bone, and Ruin: An Optimist’s Guide to the Historical Sciences (MIT... Read More
Andrew Leigh, “Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Are Changing Our World” (Yale UP, 2018)
From the unending quest to turn metal into gold to the major discoveries that reveal how the universe works, experiments have always been a critical part of the hard sciences. In recent decades social scientists have started to catch up and the results are shifting the way we do nearly... Read More
Kareem Khalifa, “Understanding, Explanation, and Scientific Knowledge” (Cambridge UP, 2017)
What is the relation between understanding and knowledge in science? Can we understand a scientific theory if it is false? Do we understand a scientific proposition we can’t elaborate or do anything with? In Understanding, Explanation, and Scientific Knowledge (Cambridge University Press 2017), Kareem Khalifa argues for a revised version... Read More
Amy Shira Teitel, “Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight Before NASA” (Bloomsbury, 2016)
Amy Shira Teitel talks about Apollo and the community of people who are deeply attached to space history. Teitel is a spaceflight historian and the creator of the YouTube Channel, Vintage Space. She is also the author of Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight Before NASA (Bloomsbury, 2016) and... Read More
Travis Dumsday, “Dispositionalism and the Metaphysics of Science” (Cambridge UP, 2019)
Dispositionalism is the view that there are irreducible causal powers in nature that explain why objects behave as they do. To say salt is soluble in water, for example, is to say that salt has the disposition to dissolve in water, and this disposition is understood as a real causal... Read More
Gil Eyal, “The Crisis of Expertise” (Polity, 2019)
In recent political debates there has been a significant change in the valence of the word “experts” from a superlative to a near pejorative, typically accompanied by a recitation of experts’ many failures and misdeeds. In topics as varied as Brexit, climate change, and vaccinations there is a palpable mistrust... Read More
Michael F. Robinson, “The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture” (U Chicago Press, 2006)
Radio host Kevin Fox interviews Michael F. Robinson about the history of American Arctic exploration, the subject of his book, The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2006). The disappearance of the Franklin Expedition in 1845 turned the Arctic into an object of fascination. By the... Read More