History and Philosophy of Science
Featured Items
Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds
Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds
Paperback      ISBN: 0520071719

Surveying the night sky, a charming philosopher and his hostess, the Marquise, are considering thep ossibility of travelers from the moon. "What if they were skillful enough to navigate on the outer surface of our air, and from there, through their curiosity to see us, they angled for us like fish? Would that please you?" asks the philosopher. "Why not?" the Marquise replies. "As for me, I'd put myself into their nets of my own volition just to have the pleasure of seeing those who caught me."

In this imaginary conversation of three hundred years ago, readers can share the excitement of a new, extremely daring view of the uinverse. Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds (Entretiens sur la pluralit des mondes), first published in 1686, is one of the best loved classics of the early French enlightenment. Through a series of informal dialogues that take place on successive evenings in the marquise's moonlit gardens, Fontenelle describes the new cosmology of the Copernican world view with matchles clarity, imagination, and wit. Moreover, he boldly makes his interlocutor a woman, inviting female participation in the almost exclusively male province of scientific discourse.

The popular Fontenelle lived through an entire century, from 1657 to 1757, and wrote prolifically. H. A. Hargreaves's fresh, appealing translation brings the author's masterpiece to new generations of readers, while the introduction by Nina Rattner Gelbart clearly demonstrates the importance of the Conversations for the history of science, of women, of literature, and of French civilization, and for the popularization of culture.

Things That Make Us Smart: Defending Human Attributes in the Age of the Machine
Things That Make Us Smart
Defending Human Attributes in the Age of the Machine
Paperback      ISBN: 0201626950

In Things That Make Us Smart, Donald A. Norman explores the complex interaction between human thought and the technology it creates, arguing for the development of machines that fit our minds, rather than minds that must conform to the machine.Humans have always worked with objects to extend our cognitive powers, from counting on our fingers to designing massive supercomputers. But advanced technology does more than merely assist with thought and memory--the machines we create begin to shape how we think and, at times, even what we value. Norman, in exploring this complex relationship between humans and machines, gives us the first steps towards demanding a person-centered redesign of the machines that surround our lives.

Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Paperback      ISBN: 1552091740

"Steadman's text here is as witty as his drawings, both illustrating not only Freud's classification of jokes, but also the events of Freud's life." --The North Carolina Review of Books

"Earlier chapters of Freud's life, characterized by intellectual as well as physical vigorousness aided by the 19th-century 'miracle drug' of cocaine, give the illustrator rich material to work with." --Open Culture

One genius takes on another.

In what is a thoroughly atypical biography, Ralph Steadman examines Freud using his 1905 book The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious to illustrate his points with 75 illustrations. The result is a masterful interplay of text and illustration, visual and verbal puns, and unexpected insight.

Sigmund Freud bursts defiantly and gleefully beyond the bounds of orthodox biography. It is a wildly humorous exercise in bending, stretching and speculating on the activities of the so-called Father of Psychoanalysis. Ralph Steadman wields his shrewd wit and fierce pen to highlight the ebbs and tides of Freud's life and career from early childhood to the moment of death.

But there's a twist. Rich illustrations and witty text work hand in hand to transform each scene into a "joking situation," which the artist hilariously examines according to the techniques wielded by Freud himself in his 1905 book on humor and the unconscious mind. The result is a fantastic Freudian festival of visual and verbal puns, unexpected insights, and sheer intellectual enjoyment.

Originally published in hardcover in 1979, released in paperback in 1997, and reprinted numerous times since then, we are presenting it again to remind buyers that Freud has not and will not leave the unconscious mind of the public (and he would likely have something to say about what books they buy).

Sigmund Freud is superbly illustrated with more than 50 major drawings and 25 vignettes by a renowned master of the pen. It remains one of the most original illustrated books of our times and a Ralph Steadman classic.

The Construction of Modern Science: Mechanisms and Mechanics
The Construction of Modern Science
Mechanisms and Mechanics
Paperback      ISBN: 0521292956

This introduction to the history of science in the seventeenth century examines the so-called 'scientific revolution' in terms of the interplay between two major themes. The Platonic-Pythagorean tradition looked on nature in geometric terms with the conviction that the cosmos was constructed according to the principles of mathematical order, while the mechanical philosophy conceived of nature as a huge machine and sought to explain the hidden mechanisms behind phenomena. Pursuing different goals, these two movements of thought tended to conflict with each other, and more than the obviously mathematical sciences were affected - the influence spread as far as chemistry and the life sciences. As this book demonstrates, the full fruition of the scientific revolution required a resolution of the tension between the two dominant trends.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Guns, Germs, and Steel
The Fates of Human Societies
Paperback      ISBN: 0393317552

In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.

Dreams 1900 2000: Science, Art, and the Unconscious Mind
Dreams 1900 2000
Science, Art, and the Unconscious Mind
Hardcover      ISBN: 080143730x

When Sigmund Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900, he began the modern study of a phenomenon that has fascinated human beings for thousands of years. At the same time he opened a new realm, the unconscious mind, to filmmakers and artists who were inspired by his theories. This beautifully designed and lavishly illustrated book--written to commemorate the centenary of Freud's classic work--examines the shifting roles that dreams have played in twentieth-century art and science.

Over the course of the twentieth century, as scientists have researched the psychology and physiology of dreams, artists from Odilon Redon and Joan Mir to Jenny Holzer, Ingmar Bergman, and Laurie Anderson have produced dramatic images centered in the unconscious. An exploration of this artistic output, this volume features a hundred color and fifty black-and-white illustrations depicting work by a broad range of artists in painting, photography, sculpture, video, film, performance, dance, and other media.

In her opening essay, Lynn Gamwell reviews the psychoanalytic understanding of dreams and explores the ways in which Freud's theories have been interpreted artistically. The next essay, by Ernest Hartmann, traces attempts to link somatic and psychological dimensions of dreaming and to discover parallels between these dimensions and creative thought. In the final essay, Donald Kuspit assesses the impact of the transition from the mystical outlook that human beings held in the nineteenth century to the twentieth-century scientific paradigm for the human mind. A century of dreamwork is captured in this stunning volume, which concludes with a dream archive--an illustrated catalogue raisonn of approximately five hundred examples of twentieth-century art about dreams.

Contributors: Lucy Daniels, Lucy Daniels Foundation, Raleigh, N.C.; Lynn Gamwell, State University of New York, Binghamton; Ernest Hartmann, M.D., Tufts University School of Medicine; Donald Kuspit, State University of New York, Stony Brook; August Ruhs, M.D., Universit tsklinik f r Tiefenpsychologie und Psychotherapie, Vienna

--Choice, Sept. 2000, Vol. 38, No. 1. "Library Journal"
Greek Science After Aristotle
Greek Science After Aristotle
Paperback      ISBN: 0393007804

In this volume, the author discusses the fundamental Greek contributions to science, drawing on the rich literary and archaeological sources for the period after Aristotle. Particular attention is paid to the Greeks' conceptions of the inquiries they were engaged on, and to the interrelations of science and philosophy, science and religion, and science and technology. In the first part of the book the author considers the two hundred years after the death of Aristotle, devoting separate chapters to mathematics, astronomy, and biology. He goes on to deal with Ptolemy and Galen and concludes with a discussion of later writers and of the problems raised by the question of the decline of ancient science.

Supersymmetry: Unveiling the Ultimate Laws of Nature
Unveiling the Ultimate Laws of Nature
Paperback      ISBN: 0738204897

"A fascinating account of the theoretical ideas behind supersymmetry...told by someone who has contributed deeply to the development of the field." -NatureFor most of human history, man has been trying to discover just how the universe works. In this groundbreaking work, renowned physicist Gordon Kane first gives us the basics of the Standard Model, which describes the fundamental constituents and forces of nature. He then explains the next great leap in understanding: the theory of supersymmetry, which implies that each of the fundamental particles has a "superpartner" that can be detected at energies and intensities only now being achieved in the giant accelerators. If Kane and his colleagues are correct, these superpartners will also help solve many of the puzzles of modern physics-such as the existence of the Higgs boson-as well as one of the biggest mysteries is cosmology: the notorious "dark matter" of the universe.

The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures
The Man Who Counted
A Collection of Mathematical Adventures
Paperback      ISBN: 0393309347

The adventures of Beremiz Samir, The Man Who Counted, take the reader on an exotic journey in which, time and again, he summons his extraordinary mathematical powers to settle disputes, give wise advice, overcome dangerous enemies, and win for himself fame and fortune. as we accompany him, we learn much of the history of famous mathematicisns who preceded him; we undergo a series of trials at the hands of the wise men of the day; and we come to admire the warm wisdom and patience that earn him the respect and affection of those whose problems he resolves so astutely. In the grace of their telling, these stories hold unusual delights for the reader.
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
Adventures of a Curious Character
Paperback      ISBN: 0393316041

Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. Here he recounts in his inimitable voice his experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek; cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets; accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums; painting a naked female toreador. In short, here is Feynman's life in all its eccentric--a combustible mixture of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah.