Browsing All Posts filed under »Books«

Review of Hull and Ruse

August 19, 2008


My review of The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Science edited by Hull and Ruse is up on the Metapsychology page. I thought the book was pretty damned good: While the articles are approachable, the Hull and Ruse volume does not feel like a dry introductory text that goes methodically through the central theses […]

Johnson-Laird – How we Reason

August 6, 2008


Just in the last few days I have finished reading Philip Johnson-Laird’s How we Reason. It is something of a monster of a book, both in terms of size and in terms of depth. He has put together the results of the research he has carried out over his whole career into a single picture […]

Coming back to explanation

February 6, 2008


I find that in my research on superstition I keep coming back to the role played by explanations and keep finding that I simply do not know enough about the psychology of explanation. It appears to me that a very important element of what superstitions are about is related to how superstitious explanations are treated […]

Laland & Brown, Sense & Nonsense

February 3, 2008


I’ve just finished reading a book that I really wish someone had recommended to me when I got to the KLI. Written by Kevin Laland and Gillian Brown, it is an introduction to the variety of evolutionary approaches to human behaviour that have developed since E.O. Wilson’s Sociobiology came out in 1975. Apart from sociobiology, […]

Review of Wimsatt Re-engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings

December 31, 2007


My review of Bill Wimsatt’s recent book is now up on the Metapsychology website: Many current philosophers, even ostensively naturalist ones, are rightly accused of doing philosophy in a way that actually keeps it hermetically closed against science. In Wimsatt’s hands, however, philosophy becomes part and parcel of science. The resulting book, even if aimed […]

Zusne and Jones on magic in traditional and Western societies

December 5, 2007


Here’s a quote from Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking by L. Zusne and W. Jones (p. 246): Although the incidence of practice of superstitious magic may be thought to be surprisingly high in Western societies, it would be incorrect to assume that their attitude toward magic is the same as it is among […]

Diamond on Wilson

November 30, 2007


I have just come across a New York Review of Books review of Darwin’s Cathedral. The review was written by Jared Diamond. Getting Diamond to review Wilson was the perfect choice as both exhibit a rare breadth of knowledge, depth of understanding and intellectual modesty. Diamond writes: Obviously, the main subject of Darwin’s Cathedral—religion—is widely […]