Category Archives: Book Notes

Joshua Greene, MORAL TRIBES, post 1

Here is a substantial book about human morality that offers ideas that, to me, helps the ideas of others fit together. For chronological orientation, this 2013 book follows, of course, the 1997 Pinker (review ends here) and 1998 Wilson books … Continue reading

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Jaime Green, THE POSSIBILITY OF LIFE

Here is a book published about a year ago now that turns out to be very similar, thematically, to the more recent book by Adam Frank, The Little Book of Aliens, that I reviewed here in January. That book was … Continue reading

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Yuval Noah Harari, UNSTOPPABLE US, Vol. 2

Subtitled: “Why the World Isn’t Fair.” (Bright Matter Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House; March 2024. xv + 189pp. With copious illustrations by Ricard Zaplana Ruiz.) This is the second volume in … Continue reading

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Oliver Sacks, THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT

Like the Pinker and Wilson volumes I’ve covered here recently, this is another classic nonfiction book, one I first read years ago without taking notes (maybe before I began taking notes on my reading). So I skimmed through it again … Continue reading

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EO Wilson, CONSILIENCE, 11

Chapter 12, To What End? Wilson’s final chapter ponders options for humanity’s future, and comes down on the side of “existential conservatism.” And since it is about humanity’s future, the chapter has some things to say about the themes of … Continue reading

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EO Wilson, CONSILIENCE, 10

Chapter 11, Ethics and Religion The chapter in the book that would most challenge conservatives, or anyone who thinks morality and religion are handed down from on high. Key points in this chapter: On ethics: Author summarizes arguments on both … Continue reading

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EO Wilson, CONSILIENCE, 9

Chapter 10, The Arts and Their Interpretation Here we have perhaps the area most resistant to the idea of biological or psychological interpretation. Because it doesn’t occur, especially to the artists themselves, why people tell certain kinds of stories and … Continue reading

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EO Wilson, CONSILIENCE, 8

Chapter 9, The Social Sciences Now Wilson begins takes his conclusions about human nature and searches for ways to bring insight, if not explanation, to various aspects of human culture, in particular studies in the humanities that are supposedly resistant to … Continue reading

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EO Wilson, CONSILIENCE, 7

Chapter 8, The Fitness of Human Nature This is perhaps the core chapter of the book, in that it brings together ideas about the mind, genes, and culture from the previous two chapters, and sets up a basis for the … Continue reading

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EO Wilson, CONSILIENCE, 6

Chapter 7, From Genes to Culture This chapter is about “gene-culture coevolution.” Also, this is the point in the book where Wilson mentions C.P. Snow’s “Two Cultures” (which I discussed here almost six years ago.) Key points in this chapter: … Continue reading

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