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Epistemology & Methodology III: Philosophy of Science and Technology Part I: Formal and Physical Sciences (Treatise on Basic Philosophy)
Epistemology & Methodology III: Philosophy of Science and Technology Part I: Formal and Physical Sciences (Treatise on Basic Philosophy)
by Mario Bunge
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $108.08
43 used & new from $44.56

5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece., February 28, 2015
Scholarly, knowlegeable, precise, deep, critical, constructive, sharp, exact, demanding, brilliant. Another masterpiece from a true philosopher of science.


Philosophy of Psychology
Philosophy of Psychology
by Mario Bunge
Edition: Paperback
Price: $99.00
21 used & new from $70.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, October 11, 2014
Brilliant work. Highly recommended.


The Physiology of Truth: Neuroscience and Human Knowledge (Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative)
The Physiology of Truth: Neuroscience and Human Knowledge (Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative)
by Jean-Pierre Changeux
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.99
43 used & new from $6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spoiled at the end., September 26, 2013
This is an informative, engaging and nicely written book, by one of today's greatest neuroscientists. It's scholarly, presenting vast panoramas with inputs from general science, mathematics, philosophy, genetics, molecular biology, etc, while focusing on the nature and workings of the brain and the external world. Most of the time it's a fascinating reading, providing interesting insights and critical discussion of a constellation of issues, without oversimplifications, and showing great respect for the reader's intelligence.

Unfortunately, at the end of the book the author succumbs to a common malaise of popularization science books: the need to moralize and preach for "a better world". Suddenly, the sharp critical stance displayed unflinchingly along the book is abandoned and the author enters an appalingly naive mode, sounding like a preacher or an empty-headed Miss Universe. So we find all the clichés about how brain sciences "would be of inestimable value in bringing about the lasting reing of peace, justice and harmony within and among human societies." There's no discussion about the historical fact of the existence of evil people, and the abundance evidence that weakness, frailty and cruelty coexist with the most sublime virtues at the core of the ambivalent human condition. Instead of facing it and providing a sobering discussion on how to deal with it in the real world, one gets some sophomoric and uncritical ideological slogans.


The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)
The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)
by Jaak Panksepp
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $47.41
60 used & new from $39.59

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, February 24, 2013
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This is a very interesting overview of the author's life-time work in the field of affective neuroscience. It's reasonably accessible to the non-specialist, bringuing lots of interesting information and some intriguing ideas. However, the text is a bit convoluted and overly repetitive and too technical at times. It's also somewhat confused, nebulous and sloppy in its philosophical approaches and conclusions, sometimes giving too much credit to postmodernism and Freud, while at the same time supporting an objective and naturalistic approach to the study of emotions, consciousness and affection.


Johann Sebastian Bach: Six Partitas and Overture in French Style (Kalmus Edition)
Johann Sebastian Bach: Six Partitas and Overture in French Style (Kalmus Edition)
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.95
17 used & new from $5.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not as expected, June 24, 2012
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The print quality of the score is very poor and it's hard to decipher some of the fingerings. It was a bad purchase. Not recommended.


Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design
Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design
Price: $9.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit schizophrenic, December 21, 2011
This book's central message, namely, that the outcome of evolutionary processes is not a supposed perfection of design but the suboptimal result of tinkering under all types of restrictions (physical, chemical, environmental, etc), is excellent (though not new). It focuses on the many molecular errors and bizarre genomic arrangements, a clear blow to the intelectually bankrupt and dishonest "intelligent design" crowd and their current brand of "élan vital", now dubbed "irreducible complexity". The prose flows smoothly as in the author's other books: his erudition, passion for and knowledge of the subject are engaging. However, the reader must have some pretty good knowledge of basic genetics as many concepts are tossed around concerning details of DNA structure and function, the cell and complex population genetic
notions such as random drift, and many others. Maybe an appendix reviewing these basics would have been helpful (and the inclusion of more figures).

Now, what really dissapointed me was the type of politically correct surrender to the religious viewpoint at the end of the book. The author claims that the inevitable genetic mistakes and the ensuing human suffering, resulting from evolutionary less-than-perfect design could be viewed as a solution to the theodicy (aka, "the problem of evil") and, hence, as an incentive for religious people to accept Darwinism! First off, the acceptance of Darwinism should come from the fact that it provides the best known naturalistic and evidence-based explanation of a host of biological facts, unifying the whole of Biology and providing ever-new research questions. Evolutionary theory is on a par with, say, Newtonian physics, or Relativity Theory, or Quantum Physics. It's an ongoing scientific theory, always incomplete, always in need of development and re-checks and testing and, fortunately, full of open problems. And it's doing pretty well.

Moreover, accepting Darwinism doesn't solve the problem of evil at all, it just shifts it elsewhere, to a hidden (useless?) deity, which somehow is supposed to be solely concerned with "moral and spiritual issues". This NOMA-style conciliatory non-sense is nothing but a pathetic surrender to religious groups, whose anti-science pressure in the US is quite strong. Point is that Darwinism was/is another major blow to the religious world-view and this should be stated clearly and without fear. Of course, people have the inalienable right to their religious beliefs and it's up to them to conciliate within themselves the blatant contradictions that science presents to their worldview. But this kind of politically-correct happy ending, after debunking the ID non-sense throughout the book, is self-defeating and a bit schizophrenic.


The Roots of Evil
The Roots of Evil
by John Kekes
Edition: Paperback
Price: $21.03
69 used & new from $3.72

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting discussion, June 30, 2010
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This review is from: The Roots of Evil (Paperback)
This book provides a cogent analysis of evil and along the way presents many interesting topics linked to moral values, responsibility and ethics. One important point is the recognition that evil is not mysterious but is part of the ambivalence, contradictions and propensities of human nature. Hence, contrary to the Enlightenment naive optimism, it is implausible (in view of human history) that evil will ever be completely
eradicated from human society. What one can expect is to minimize it and protect society from its terrible effects.

To do that one needs to understand the mechanism (internal and external) and causes that lead to evil actions. First step is to recognize there are different types of evil and the author tries to extract some pattern from unequivocal instances of evil, namely the Albigensian crusaders, Robespierre's reign of terror, Stangl's command of Treblinka, Argentinian "dirty-war" torturers, Charles Manson murders and a psychopath's career.

Overall it provides a rational, secular and objective discussion. The weak point is the proposed solutions to deal with evil. One proposal is to help people develop a "moral imagination", sources of which could be found in reading the classics. This sounds like the usual naive Enlightenment optimism once again. After all classical education didn't prevent the horrible instances of evil in the recent past; moreover, how on earth one is supposed to instill an interest in the classics nowadays, in our age of fast and superficial information, in which new media formats compete, through direct emotional appeals, to an increasingly impatient audience? Maybe the author will try to tackle these issues in his other books.


A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad
A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad
by Robert S. Wistrich
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from $89.99

14 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opener, March 29, 2010
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This is a remarkable and highly informative book on modern anti-semitism. Most books on the topic tend to focus
on the pre-WWII period (a masterpiece on 19th century being Paul Lawrence Rose's "Revolutionary Anti-semitism") but Wistrich's book is mainly concerned with post-holocaust anti-semitism and its sources. It is worth reading, despite its massive size, as it shows, with abundant documentation, the sad and
disturbing reality that anti-semitism didn't vanish after the holocaust, it just went underground for a while,
until, under the façade of anti-zionism (another legacy of the soviets) it turned politically correct once again.

On the negative side, sometimes the prose is repetitive, which can be tiring in a book of such size, and it lacks a deeper discussion concerning the popularity in the West of the phenomena of "racist anti-racism" and how it is explored wholesale by the current demopaths.


The New Foundations of Evolution: On the Tree of Life
The New Foundations of Evolution: On the Tree of Life
by Jan Sapp
Edition: Paperback
Price: $35.64
41 used & new from $15.21

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable panorama., March 10, 2010
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This book has the ambitious aim of providing an historical overview of the fascinating issue of philogeny and its role in evolution theory. It is a huge subject, dealing basically with all branches of biology and which is undergoing an explosive development in the last 40 years, particularly regarding molecular evolution.

I think the book is successful in highlighting some important points in classification, taxonomy and evolution, and the intriguing fact of biology's slow realization of the crucial need to understand the ecology, genetics and evolution of microorganisms. This change already had an strong impact on the current view of the ubiquity of symbiosis, of lateral gene transfer and the origin of life.

On the other hand, the author pressuposes a lot from the reader and the text is heavily descriptive. At some crucial points it lacks a basic explanation (say, an appendix) that could have helped the prospective reader getting a better grasp of the issues at stake (e.g., the idea behind electrophoresis). Also, at times the text is repetitive, and it includes a little too much of quotations and opinions from selected scientista, which risks impairing historical objectivity.


Antisemitism and Modernity: Innovation and Continuity (Routledge Jewish Studies)
Antisemitism and Modernity: Innovation and Continuity (Routledge Jewish Studies)
by Hyam Maccoby
Edition: Paperback
39 used & new from $40.76

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and insightful., March 5, 2010
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This is a brilliant short book full of valuable insights. The main thesis is that the fundamental source of anti-semitism is the central role of Judaism in Christian mythology; in the ensuing rivarly, the demonization of the Jews, a populist theological tool to rally Christians in support of the supersessionist idea (and to assuage Christian insecurities) spread all over Europe as Christianity took hold of political power. Politico-ideological and racial anti-semitism are modifications and transmutations of the same medieval themes within the new secular age and while theological Christian anti-semitism barely avoided genocide (thanks to St. Augustine's theory of Jews as the despised "witness people"), secular-ideological antisemitism had no such constraints, which explains its lethality. Muslim antisemitism is different, as Jews don't play the same central mythical role in Islamism. However, when a previously second-class people, treated with contempt (the dhimmitude status) dared regain independence after defeating muslims, the contempt turned into ubriddled hatred, fed and stirred by all types of classical Western anti-semitic trash: from Christian blood libels, conspiratorial paranoias, racist nonsense, Nazi fantasies and, more recently, left-wing delusions.

It is a great reading, particularly the discussion of anti-semitsm in Shakespeare, Voltaire, Nietzche, Eliot and Pound. At some places the author relies a bit too seriously on psychoanalysis, an amusing pseudo-science, but pseudo-science nontheless, but fortunately this doesn't cause much harm overall.

Highly recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 29, 2011 12:13 PM PDT


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