A Prayer for Owen Meany
I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany. In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys best friends are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary.
Between 1777 and 1816, botanical expeditions crisscrossed the vast Spanish empire in an ambitious project to survey the flora of much of the Americas, the Caribbean, and the Philippines. While these voyages produced written texts and compiled collections of specimens, they dedicated an overwhelming proportion of their resources and energy to the creation of visual materials. European and American naturalists and artists collaborated to manufacture a staggering total of more than 12,000 botanical illustrations. Yet these images have remained largely overlooked-until now.In this lavishly illustrated volume, Daniela Bleichmar gives this archive its due, finding in these botanical images a window into the worlds of Enlightenment science, visual culture, and empire. Through innovative interdisciplinary scholarship that bridges the histories of science, visual culture, and the Hispanic world, Bleichmar uses these images to trace two related histories: the little-known history of scientific expeditions in the Hispanic Enlightenment and the history of visual evidence in both science and administration in the early modern Spanish empire. As Bleichmar shows, in the Spanish empire visual epistemology operated not only in scientific contexts but also as part of an imperial apparatus that had a long-established tradition of deploying visual evidence for administrative purposes.
Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason
Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason is a series of fascinating essays on the study of social phenomena. How to best and most accurately study social interactions has long been debated intensely, and there are two main approaches: the positivists, who ignore intent and belief and draw on methods based in the sciences; and the nonpositivists, who argue that opinions and ideas drive action and are central to understanding social behavior. F. A. Hayek's opposition to the positivists and their claims to scientific rigor and certainty in the study of human behavior is a running theme of this important book.Hayek argues that the vast number of elements whose interactions create social structures and institutions make it unlikely that social science can predict precise outcomes. Instead, he contends, we should strive to simply understand the principles by which phenomena are produced. For Hayek this modesty of aspirations went hand in hand with his concern over widespread enthusiasm for economic planning. As a result, these essays are relevant to ongoing debates within the social sciences and to discussion about the role government can and should play in the economy.
Population Fluctuations in Rodents
How did rodent outbreaks in Germany help to end World War IWhat caused the destructive outbreak of rodents in Oregon and California in the late 1950s, the large population outbreak of lemmings in Scandinavia in 2010, and the great abundance of field mice in Scotland in the spring of 2011Population fluctuations, or outbreaks, of rodents constitute one of the classic problems of animal ecology, and in Population Fluctuations in Rodents, Charles J. Krebs sifts through the last eighty years of research to draw out exactly what we know about rodent outbreaks and what should be the agenda for future research.?Krebs has synthesized the research in this area, focusing mainly on the voles and lemmings of the Northern Hemisphere-his primary area of expertise-but also referring to the literature on rats and mice. He covers the patterns of changes in reproduction and mortality and the mechanisms that cause these changes-including predation, disease, food shortage, and social behavior-and discusses how landscapes can affect population changes, methodically presenting the hypotheses related to each topic before determining whether or not the data supports them. He ends on an expansive note, by turning his gaze outward and discussing how the research on rodent populations can apply to other terrestrial mammals. Geared toward advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, and practicing ecologists interested in rodent population studies, this book will also appeal to researchers seeking to manage rodent populations and to understand outbreaks in both natural and urban settings-or, conversely, to protect endangered species.
Regimens of the Mind
In Regimens of the Mind, Sorana Corneanu proposes a new approach to the epistemological and methodological doctrines of the leading experimental philosophers of seventeenth-century England, an approach that considers their often overlooked moral, psychological, and theological elements. Corneanu focuses on the views about the pursuit of knowledge in the writings of Robert Boyle and John Locke, as well as in those of several of their influences, including Francis Bacon and the early Royal Society virtuosi. She argues that their experimental programs of inquiry fulfill the role of regimens for curing, ordering, and educating the mind toward an ethical purpose, an idea she tracks back to the ancient tradition of cultura animi. Corneanu traces this idea through its early modern revival and illustrates how it organizes the experimental philosophers' reflections on the discipline of judgment, the study of nature, and the study of Scripture. It is through this lens, the author suggests, that the core features of the early modern English experimental philosophy-including its defense of experience, its epistemic modesty, its communal nature, and its pursuit of "e;objectivity"e;-are best understood.
Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss
The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss takes on the crucial task of separating what is truly important in the work of Leo Strauss from the ephemeral politics associated with his school. Laurence Lampert focuses on exotericism: the use of artful rhetoric to simultaneously communicate a socially responsible message to the public at large and a more radical message of philosophic truth to a smaller, more intellectually inclined audience. Largely forgotten after the Enlightenment, exotericism, he shows, deeply informed Strauss both as a reader and as a philosophic writer-indeed, Lampert argues, Strauss learned from the finest practitioners of exoteric writing how to become one himself.Examining some of Strauss's most important books and essays through this exoteric lens, Lampert reevaluates not only Strauss but the philosophers-from Plato to Halevi to Nietzsche-with whom Strauss most deeply engaged. Ultimately Lampert shows that Strauss's famous distinction between ancient and modern thinkers is primarily rhetorical, one of the great examples of Strauss's exoteric craft. Celebrating Strauss's achievements while recognizing one main shortcoming-unlike Nietzsche, he failed to appreciate the ramifications of modern natural science for philosophy and its public presentation-Lampert illuminates Strauss as having even greater philosophic importance than we have thought before.?
Radium and the Secret of Life
Before the hydrogen bomb indelibly associated radioactivity with death, many chemists, physicians, botanists, and geneticists believed that radium might hold the secret to life. Physicists and chemists early on described the wondrous new element in lifelike terms such as "e;decay"e; and "e;half-life,"e; and made frequent references to the "e;natural selection"e; and "e;evolution"e; of the elements. Meanwhile, biologists of the period used radium in experiments aimed at elucidating some of the most basic phenomena of life, including metabolism and mutation.From the creation of half-living microbes in the test tube to charting the earliest histories of genetic engineering, Radium and the Secret of Life highlights previously unknown interconnections between the history of the early radioactive sciences and the sciences of heredity. Equating the transmutation of radium with the biological transmutation of living species, biologists saw in metabolism and mutation properties that reminded them of the new element. These initially provocative metaphoric links between radium and life proved remarkably productive and ultimately led to key biological insights into the origin of life, the nature of heredity, and the structure of the gene. Radium and the Secret of Life recovers a forgotten history of the connections between radioactivity and the life sciences that existed long before the dawn of molecular biology.
Powers of Pure Reason
The Critique of Pure Reason-Kant's First Critique-is one of the most studied texts in intellectual history, but as Alfredo Ferrarin points out in this radically original book, most of that study has focused only on very select parts. Likewise, Kant's oeuvre as a whole has been compartmentalized, the three Critiques held in rigid isolation from one another. Working against the standard reading of Kant that such compartmentalization has produced,?The Powers of Pure Reason?explores forgotten parts of the First Critique in order to find an exciting, new, and ultimately central set of concerns by which to read all of Kant's works. ?Ferrarin blows the dust off of two egregiously overlooked sections of the First Critique-the Transcendental Dialectic and the Doctrine of Method. There he discovers what he argues is the Critique's greatest achievement: a conception of the unity of reason and an exploration of the powers it has to reach beyond itself and legislate over the world. With this in mind, Ferrarin dismantles the common vision of Kant as a philosopher writing separately on epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics and natural teleology, showing that the three Critiques are united by this underlying theme: the autonomy and teleology of reason, its power and ends. The result is a refreshing new view of Kant, and of reason itself.
While much attention has been lavished on Friedrich Nietzsche's earlier and later works, those of his so-called middle period have been generally neglected, perhaps because of their aphoristic style or perhaps because they are perceived to be inconsistent with the rest of his thought. With Nietzsche's Enlightenment, Paul Franco gives this crucial section of Nietzsche's oeuvre its due, offering a thoughtful analysis of the three works that make up the philosopher's middle period: Human, All too Human; Daybreak; and The Gay Science.?It is Nietzsche himself who suggests that these works are connected, saying that their "e;common goal is to erect a new image and ideal of the free spirit."e; Franco argues that in their more favorable attitude toward reason, science, and the Enlightenment, these works mark a sharp departure from Nietzsche's earlier, more romantic writings and differ in important ways from his later, more prophetic writings, beginning with Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The Nietzsche these works reveal is radically different from the popular image of him and even from the Nietzsche depicted in much of the secondary literature; they reveal a rational Nietzsche, one who preaches moderation instead of passionate excess and Dionysian frenzy. Franco concludes with a wide-ranging examination of Nietzsche's later works, tracking not only how his outlook changes from the middle period to the later but also how his commitment to reason and intellectual honesty in his middle works continues to inform his final writings.
Discovery of Insulin
In a brilliant, definitive history of one of the most significant and controversial medical events of modern times, award-winning historian Michael Bliss brings to light a bizarre clash of scientific personalities. When F. G. Banting and J. J. R. Macleod won the 1923 Nobel Prize for discovering and isolating insulin, Banting immediately announced that he was dividing his share of the prize with his young associate, C. H. Best. Macleod divided his share with a fourth member of the team, J. B. Collip. For the next sixty years medical opinion was intensely divided over the allotment of credit for the discovery of insulin. In resolving this controversy, Bliss also offers a wealth of new detail on such subjects as the treatment of diabetes before insulin and the life-and-death struggle to manufacture insulin.
Interaction and Coevolution
"e;It is not only the species that change evolutionarily through interactions . . . the interactions themselves also change."e; Thus states John N. Thompson in the foreword to Interaction and Coevolution, the first title in his series of books exploring the relentless nature of evolution and the processes that shape the web of life. Originally published in 1982 more as an idea piece-an early attempt to synthesize then academically distinct but logically linked strands of ecological thought and to suggest avenues for further research-than as a data-driven monograph, Interaction and Coevolution would go on to be considered a landmark study that pointed to the beginning of a new discipline. Through chapters on antagonism, mutualism, and the effects of these interactions on populations, speciation, and community structure, Thompson seeks to explain not only how interactions differ in the selection pressures they exert on species, but also when interactions are most likely to lead to coevolution. In this era of climate change and swiftly transforming environments, the ideas Thompson puts forward in Interaction and Coevolution are more relevant than ever before.
History of the Twentieth Century in 100 Maps
The twentieth century was a golden age of mapmaking, an era of cartographic boom. Maps proliferated and permeated almost every aspect of daily life, not only chronicling geography and history but also charting and conveying myriad political and social agendas. Here Tim Bryars and Tom Harper select one hundred maps from the millions printed, drawn, or otherwise constructed during the twentieth century and recount through them a narrative of the century's key events and developments.?As Bryars and Harper reveal, maps make ideal narrators, and the maps in this book tell the story of the 1900s-which saw two world wars, the Great Depression, the Swinging Sixties, the Cold War, feminism, leisure, and the Internet. Several of the maps have already gained recognition for their historical significance-for example, Harry Beck's iconic London Underground map-but the majority of maps on these pages have rarely, if ever, been seen in print since they first appeared. There are maps that were printed on handkerchiefs and on the endpapers of books; maps that were used in advertising or propaganda; maps that were strictly official and those that were entirely commercial; maps that were printed by the thousand, and highly specialist maps issued in editions of just a few dozen; maps that were envisaged as permanent keepsakes of major events, and maps that were relevant for a matter of hours or days.?As much a pleasure to view as it is to read, A History of the Twentieth Century in 100 Maps celebrates the visual variety of twentieth century maps and the hilarious, shocking, or poignant narratives of the individuals and institutions caught up in their production and use.
Phytomedicines, Herbal Drugs, and Poisons
Plants have been used to treat disease throughout human history. On a clay slab that dates back approximately five thousand years, the Sumerians recorded medicinal recipes that made use of hundreds of plants, including poppy, henbane, and mandrake. During the Middle Ages, monks commonly grew and prescribed plants such as sage, anise, and mint in their monasteries. And as the market for herbal remedies and natural medicine grows, we continue to search the globe for plants and plant compounds to combat our various ailments.?In Phytomedicines, Herbal Drugs, and Poisons, Ben-Erik van Wyk offers a richly illustrated, scientific guide to medicinal and poisonous plants, including those used for their mind-altering effects. Van Wyk covers approximately 350 species-from Aloe vera and Ephedra sinica to Cannabis sativa and Coffea arabica-detailing their botanical, geographical, pharmacological, and toxicological data as well as the chemical structures of the active compounds in each. Readers learn, for example, that Acacia senegal, or gum acacia, is used primarily in Sudan and Ethiopia as a topical ointment to protect the skin and mucosa from bacterial and fungal infections, and that Aconitum napellus, more commonly known as aconite, is used in cough syrups but can be psychedelic when smoked or absorbed through the skin. With 350 full-color photographs featuring the plants and some of their derivative products, Phytomedicines, Herbal Drugs, and Poisons will be an invaluable reference not only for those in the health care field but also for those growing their own medicinal herb gardens, as well as anyone who needs a quick answer to whether a plant is a panacea or a poison.
These days, development inspires scant trust in the West. For critics who condemn centralized efforts to plan African societies as latter day imperialism,?such plans?too closely reflect their roots in colonial rule and neoliberal economics. But proponents of this pessimistic view often ignore how significant this concept has become for Africans themselves. In Bewitching Development, James Howard Smith presents a close ethnographic account of how people in the Taita Hills of Kenya have appropriated and made sense of development thought and practice, focusing on the complex ways that development connects with changing understandings of witchcraft.Similar to magic, development's promise of a better world elicits both hope and suspicion from Wataita. Smith shows that the unforeseen changes wrought by development-greater wealth for some, dashed hopes for many more-foster moral debates that Taita people express in occult terms. By carefully chronicling the beliefs and actions of this diverse community-from frustrated youths to nostalgic seniors, duplicitous preachers to thought-provoking witch doctors-BewitchingDevelopment vividly depicts the social life of formerly foreign ideas and practices in postcolonial Africa.
Lawyers of the Right
A timely and multifaceted portrait of the lawyers who serve the diverse constituencies of the conservative movement, Lawyers of the Right explains what unites and divides lawyers for the three major groups-social conservatives, libertarians, and business advocates-that have coalesced in recent decades behind the Republican Party. Drawing on in-depth interviews with more than seventy lawyers who represent conservative and libertarian nonprofit organizations, Ann Southworth explores their values and identities and traces the implications of their shared interest in promoting political strategies that give lawyers leading roles. She goes on to illuminate the function of mediator organizations-such as the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy-that have succeeded in promoting cooperation among different factions of conservative lawyers. Such cooperation, she finds, has aided efforts to drive law and the legal profession politically rightward and to give lawyers greater prominence in the conservative movement. Southworth concludes, though, that tensions between the conservative law movement's elite and populist elements may ultimately lead to its undoing.
The Open Mind chronicles the development and promulgation of a scientific vision of the rational, creative, and autonomous self, demonstrating how this self became a defining feature of Cold War culture. Jamie Cohen-Cole illustrates how from 1945 to 1965 policy makers and social critics used the idea of an open-minded human nature to advance centrist politics. They reshaped intellectual culture and instigated nationwide educational reform that promoted more open, and indeed more human, minds. The new field of cognitive science was central to this project, as it used popular support for open-mindedness to overthrow the then-dominant behaviorist view that the mind either could not be studied scientifically or did not exist. Cognitive science also underwrote the political implications of the open mind by treating it as the essential feature of human nature. ?While the open mind unified America in the first two decades after World War II, between 1965 and 1975 battles over the open mind fractured American culture as the ties between political centrism and the scientific account of human nature began to unravel. During the late 1960s, feminists and the New Left repurposed Cold War era psychological tools to redefine open-mindedness as a characteristic of left-wing politics. As a result, once-liberal intellectuals became neoconservative, and in the early 1970s, struggles against open-mindedness gave energy and purpose to the right wing.
Virtue Is Knowledge
The relation between virtue and knowledge is at the heart of the Socratic view of human excellence, but it also points to a central puzzle of the Platonic dialogues: Can Socrates be serious in his claims that human excellence is constituted by one virtue, that vice is merely the result of ignorance, and that the correct response to crime is therefore not punishment but educationOr are these assertions mere rhetorical ploys by a notoriously complex thinker?Lorraine Smith Pangle traces the argument for the primacy of virtue and the power of knowledge throughout the five dialogues that feature them most prominently-the Apology, Gorgias, Protagoras, Meno, and Laws-and reveals the truth at the core of these seemingly strange claims. She argues that Socrates was more aware of the complex causes of human action and of the power of irrational passions than a cursory reading might suggest. Pangle's perceptive analyses reveal that many of Socrates's teachings in fact explore the factors that make it difficult for humans to be the rational creatures that he at first seems to claim. Also critical to Pangle's reading is her emphasis on the political dimensions of the dialogues. Underlying many of the paradoxes, she shows, is a distinction between philosophic and civic virtue that is critical to understanding them.Ultimately, Pangle offers a radically unconventional way of reading Socrates's views of human excellence: Virtue is not knowledge in any ordinary sense, but true virtue is nothing other than wisdom.
Ethics of Interrogation
The act of interrogation, and the debate over its use, pervades our culture, whether through fictionalized depictions in movies and television or discussions of real-life interrogations on the news. But despite daily mentions of the practice in the media, there is a lack of informed commentary on its moral implications. Moving beyond the narrow focus on torture that has characterized most work on the subject, An Ethics of Interrogation is the first book to fully address this complex issue.In this important new examination of a controversial subject, Michael Skerker confronts a host of philosophical and legal issues, from the right to privacy and the privilege against compelled self-incrimination to prisoner rights and the legal consequences of different modes of interrogation for both domestic criminal and foreign terror suspects. These topics raise serious questions about the morality of keeping secrets as well as the rights of suspected terrorists and insurgents. Thoughtful consideration of these subjects leads Skerker to specific policy recommendations for law enforcement, military, and intelligence professionals.
In this new edition, Arthur Fine looks at Einstein's philosophy of science and develops his own views on realism. A new Afterword discusses the reaction to Fine's own theory."e;What really led Einstein . . . to renounce the new quantum orderFor those interested in this question, this book is compulsory reading."e;-Harvey R. Brown, American Journal of Physics"e;Fine has successfully combined a historical account of Einstein's philosophical views on quantum mechanics and a discussion of some of the philosophical problems associated with the interpretation of quantum theory with a discussion of some of the contemporary questions concerning realism and antirealism. . . . Clear, thoughtful, [and] well-written."e;-Allan Franklin, Annals of Science"e;Attempts, from Einstein's published works and unpublished correspondence, to piece together a coherent picture of 'Einstein realism.' Especially illuminating are the letters between Einstein and fellow realist Schrdinger, as the latter was composing his famous 'Schrdinger-Cat' paper."e;-Nick Herbert, New Scientist"e;Beautifully clear. . . . Fine's analysis is penetrating, his own results original and important. . . . The book is a splendid combination of new ways to think about quantum mechanics, about realism, and about Einstein's views of both."e;-Nancy Cartwright, Isis
Rereading the Fossil Record
Rereading the Fossil Record presents the first-ever historical account of the origin, rise, and importance of paleobiology, from the mid-nineteenth century to the late 1980s.?Drawing on a wealth of archival material, David Sepkoski shows how the movement was conceived and promoted by a small but influential group of paleontologists and examines the intellectual, disciplinary, and political dynamics involved in the ascendency of paleobiology. By tracing the role of computer technology, large databases, and quantitative analytical methods in the emergence of paleobiology, this book also offers insight into the growing prominence and centrality of data-driven approaches in recent science.
From Galileo, who used the hollow stalks of grass to demonstrate the idea that peripherally located construction materials provide most of the resistance to bending forces, to Leonardo da Vinci, whose illustrations of the parachute are alleged to be based on his study of the dandelion's pappus and the maple tree's samara, many of our greatest physicists, mathematicians, and engineers have learned much from studying plants.?A symbiotic relationship between botany and the fields of physics, mathematics, engineering, and chemistry continues today, as is revealed in Plant Physics. The result of a long-term collaboration between plant evolutionary biologist Karl J. Niklas and physicist Hanns-Christof Spatz, Plant Physics presents a detailed account of the principles of classical physics, evolutionary theory, and plant biology in order to explain the complex interrelationships among plant form, function, environment, and evolutionary history. Covering a wide range of topics-from the development and evolution of the basic plant body and the ecology of aquatic unicellular plants to mathematical treatments of light attenuation through tree canopies and the movement of water through plants' roots, stems, and leaves-Plant Physics is destined to inspire students and professionals alike to traverse disciplinary membranes.