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
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
Marlene Zuk, “Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live” (Norton, 2013)
The Hebrews called it “Eden.” The Greeks and Romans called it the “Golden Age.” The philosophes–or Rousseau at least–called it the “State of Nature.” Marx and Engels called it “Primitive Communism.” The underlying notion, however, is the same: there was a time, long ago, when things were much better than... Read More
Kathleen M. Vogel, “Phantom Menace or Looming Danger?: A New Framework for Assessing Bioweapons Threats” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2012)
Kathleen M. Vogel‘s new book is enlightening and inspiring. Phantom Menace or Looming Danger?: A New Framework for Assessing Bioweapons Threats (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012) uses an approach grounded in deep ethnographic analysis of exemplary case studies to explore the recent and contemporary practices performed by US governmental and... Read More
Meir Hemmo and Orly Shenker, “The Road to Maxwell’s Demon: Conceptual Foundations of Statistical Mechanics” (Cambridge UP, 2012)
Among the very many puzzling aspects of the physical world is this: how do we explain the fact that the laws of thermodynamics are time-asymmetric while those of statistical mechanics are time-symmetric? If the fundamental physical laws do not require events to occur in any particular temporal direction, why do... Read More
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