virus: FW: Your Editors Philosophy and Religion E-mail from Books

Richard Brodie (
Wed, 19 Mar 1997 10:13:35 -0800

Just got this from Amazon.Com. The Bickerton book in particular looks
very interesting.

>Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 1997 5:56 PM
>Subject: Your Editors Philosophy and Religion E-mail from
>A sonic boom once precipitated a discussion between a
>childhood friend and me in which we marveled over
>humanity's success in breaking the sound barrier. My
>friend solemnly extrapolated that the light barrier
>would be next. Although common in the ebullience of
>youth, such blithe disregard for scientific "laws," not
>to mention mere convention, wanes in our adult years,
>when convention becomes law and impression fact.
>Fortunately, certain unrepentant iconoclasts refuse to
>grow up, such as the three authors Stephen Jay Gould,
>Derek Bickerton, and Steven Shapin. Gould, a longtime
>bucker of trends, comes out against trends in his new
>opus "Full House," in which he goes to great lengths to
>demonstrate that the shorthand of trends and averages
>can distort our view of populations and data. The
>upshot, of course, is Gould's ingenious solution to the
>perennial paradox of the disappearance of the 0.400
>hitter in baseball. Oh, and did I forget to mention
>that humans lose their place atop the evolutionary
>Bickerton challenges us in "Language and Human
>Behavior" to see human consciousness not in terms of
>Cartesian dualism or strict linear materialism, but in
>terms of a two-tiered consciousness in which the syntax
>of language forms the bridge between human-style,
>representational consciousness and animal-style,
>behavioral consciousness. This compelling schematic may
>alter much of our thinking on the subject.
>Like Gould, Shapin is out to dissolve presumptive
>illusions in "The Scientific Revolution." The opening
>statement--"There was no such thing as the Scientific
>Revolution, and this is a book about it"--is dead on
>target even if the subsequent presentation is not as
>earth-shaking as you might expect. Shapin gives a
>precise overview of figures and events of the
>scientific revolution while simultaneously chipping
>away at unfounded generalities that have accreted over
>There's nothing quite like the refreshing jolt of a
>powerful argument that compels one to rethink basic
>assumptions, and these books are just the ticket.
>--A freelance writer and translator, Brian Bruya has
>degrees in philosophy and Chinese from the University
>of Washington and has published several translations
>( He
>reads and writes in and around Seattle.
>You'll find Brian's favorite philosophy and religion
>books on the shelves of Books
> ******
>We want to be sure that our Editors e-mail message
>delivers the type and quality of information you want
>to receive. We'll tailor the content based on your
>feedback, so please let us know what you think. You can
>register your opinion simply by sending a one-word
>e-mail message. Hit "reply," and make the first word of
>your message good, OK, or bad--whichever best matches
>what you thought of our e-mail.
>Your thumbs-up. You liked the tone and the content
>of the message. It was engaging and informative.
>Not bad. This tells us you didn't have a strong
>positive or negative reaction.
>You were expecting better. The tone and content of
>the message fell short. It didn't interest you, and if
>it doesn't improve over time, you'll unsubscribe.
>If you'd like to make additional comments, we'd love to
>hear them. Just include them after your one-word vote.
> ******
>If you have friends who might enjoy receiving this
>mailing, please feel free to forward it to them. To
>become a new Editors subscriber, or to sign up for
>additional categories, visit
> ******
>To unsubscribe from this mailing, send an e-mail
>message to Leave the
>subject line blank.
> ******
>And now, a book from Harpercollins:
>"Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual
>Growth," by Richard J. Foster. You'll find this book at
>Drawing upon his experiences of the past ten years,
>Foster has substantially revised his bestselling guide
>(over 350,000 sold) using the classical spiritual
>disciplines to achieve an enriched, joyful inner life.