- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Touchstone; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (May 7, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780684823447
- ISBN-13: 978-0684823447
- ASIN: 0684823446
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,326,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution 1st Touchstone Ed Edition
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In this treatise on the central role of science, John Brockman contends that science is becoming the predominant culture and scientists are taking the place of traditional intellectuals in answering the important questions facing humankind. Structured in interview format, The Third Culture consists of 23 noted scientists discussing their theories, the nature of scientific inquiry, and their common desire to be recognized as today's intellectual leaders.
Robert Matthews New Scientist The most important book on how science is done since The Double Helix.
Phil Leggiere Wired John Brockman is the Michael Ovitz of the new intellectual elite.
Stewart Brand A rousing read, full of bloodthirsty intellectual combat....What a rich and savory brew it is -- biologists, physicists, philosophers, cognitive scientists, computer scientists -- you hear their voices, their spoken voices, in the terms with which they talk to (and about) each other.
Jill Sapinsley Mooney San Francisco Chronicle Fascinating...reading The Third Culture is...like playing tennis with someone who's better than you are. It will really make you stretch those mental muscles.
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The best in science is not good enough! As I trained scientist myself and after reading this book, I conclude that the best in science are trying too hard to work within the limitations of their adopted methodology--the scientific mode of inquiry. Implicit within that mode is an imprisonment of thought patterns that will allow only for very slow incremental knowledge about the real important things of life. Science is bent on being absolutely sure about unimportant things (especially inorganic things) because scientists cannot bear to be just probable about anything, including important things such as human affairs.
This book clearly shows that we need to read the views of the best scientific minds, but we also need to read books by others, such as Michael Talbot's "Holographic Universe." There are other thinkers, (unfortunately not considered brilliant because we are so enamored with things scientific), who are not entrapped into being so clever within a methodology such as scientific inquiry, that was once dominant, but is now losing its relevance in providing answers to our deeper questions.
In reading "Complexity" by M. Mitchell Waldrop and this book, I was struck how hard even the more enlightened scientists from the Sante Fe Institute were trying to derive insights into self-organizing systems and other "obvious" issues. (Imagine using a Newtonian derived device--the computer, like its linear "if ..and..then" approach-- to model quantum phenomena such as awareness and consciousness which need approaches such as self-annealing knowledge!) With a simple switch in their approach, the scientists do not have to try so hard and be so clever. The problem is the METHOD of inquiry. We need paradigm shifts in our APPROACH to knowledge discovery, not just in knowledge. Complexity is actually an apology by scientists for having lead the world astray in their previous promulgations about a simple-minded, linear universe. The world had to be seen as simple because the method of inquiry was simple-minded.
Within the above perspective, I highly recommend purchase of the book. It may cause the lay people to understand that they may have to contribute to the development of the new knowledge. The best scientific minds are running out of steam, as this book shows, by making their views so accessible to the wider audience.
C. Sherman Severin, Ph.D.,
President & Editor, Consultants Report International Magazine
Here we meet the recurrence of the well- known reality in which the person goes and asks various people in the town why X or Y happens to be the way they are. The barber says it is because they do not have a proper haircut, and the tailor says it is because their trousers have not been properly sewn, the mailman says its because their letters were not delivered. Etc Etc.
Brockman should understand that there are realms , respectable realms of cultural and human activity which Science has no significant place in. The drama of Shakespeare does not need an Isaac Asimov analysis of the number of its characters or pages to be what it is. The world of Music does not need a scientific explanation of what Music is in order to give pleasure and meaning to many.
A truly comprehensive Culture would have Science as a central part of it. But it would not be exclusively scientific.
I am personally a great fan of Brockman and the colloqiums he puts together in 'Edge'. But he should too understand that there are worlds outside the world of science, and that those worlds are real and meaningful in ways scientific work does not comprehend.