1. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
Steven Pinker
A short and entertaining book on the modern art of writing well by New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker Why is so much writing so bad, and how can we make it better? Is the English language being corrupted by texting and social media? Do the kids today even care about good writing? Why should any of us care? In The Sense of Style, the bestselling linguist and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker answers these questions and more. Rethinking the usage guide for the twenty-first century, Pinker doesn’t carp about the decline of language or recycle pet peeves from the rulebooks of a century ago. Instead, he applies insights from the sciences of language and mind to the challenge of crafting clear, coherent, and stylish prose. In this short, cheerful, and eminently practical book, Pinker shows how writing depends on imagination, empathy, coherence, grammatical knowhow, and an ability to savor and reverse engineer the good prose of others. He replaces dogma about usage with reason and evidence, allowing writers and editors to apply the guidelines judiciously, rather than robotically, being mindful of what they are designed to accomplish. Filled with examples of great and gruesome prose, Pinker shows us how the art of writing can be a form of pleasurable mastery and a fascinating intellectual topic in its own right.

    The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

    Steven Pinker

    A short and entertaining book on the modern art of writing well by New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker

    Why is so much writing so bad, and how can we make it better? Is the English language being corrupted by texting and social media? Do the kids today even care about good writing? Why should any of us care?

    In The Sense of Style, the bestselling linguist and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker answers these questions and more. Rethinking the usage guide for the twenty-first century, Pinker doesn’t carp about the decline of language or recycle pet peeves from the rulebooks of a century ago. Instead, he applies insights from the sciences of language and mind to the challenge of crafting clear, coherent, and stylish prose.

    In this short, cheerful, and eminently practical book, Pinker shows how writing depends on imagination, empathy, coherence, grammatical knowhow, and an ability to savor and reverse engineer the good prose of others. He replaces dogma about usage with reason and evidence, allowing writers and editors to apply the guidelines judiciously, rather than robotically, being mindful of what they are designed to accomplish.

    Filled with examples of great and gruesome prose, Pinker shows us how the art of writing can be a form of pleasurable mastery and a fascinating intellectual topic in its own right.
  2. The Robot’s Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin
Keith E. Stanovich
The idea that we might be robots is no longer the stuff of science fiction; decades of research in evolutionary biology and cognitive science have led many esteemed scientists to the conclusion that, according to the precepts of universal Darwinism, humans are merely the hosts for two replicators (genes and memes) that have no interest in us except as conduits for replication. Richard Dawkins, for example, jolted us into realizing that we are just survival mechanisms for our own genes, sophisticated robots in service of huge colonies of replicators to whom concepts of rationality, intelligence, agency, and even the human soul are irrelevant.Accepting and now forcefully responding to this decentering and disturbing idea, Keith Stanovich here provides the tools for the “robot’s rebellion,” a program of cognitive reform necessary to advance human interests over the limited interest of the replicators and define our own autonomous goals as individual human beings. He shows how concepts of rational thinking from cognitive science interact with the logic of evolution to create opportunities for humans to structure their behavior to serve their own ends. These evaluative activities of the brain, he argues, fulfill the need that we have to ascribe significance to human life.We may well be robots, but we are the only robots who have discovered that fact. Only by recognizing ourselves as such, argues Stanovich, can we begin to construct a concept of self based on what is truly singular about humans: that they gain control of their lives in a way unique among life forms on Earth—through rational self-determination.

    The Robot’s Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin

    Keith E. Stanovich

    The idea that we might be robots is no longer the stuff of science fiction; decades of research in evolutionary biology and cognitive science have led many esteemed scientists to the conclusion that, according to the precepts of universal Darwinism, humans are merely the hosts for two replicators (genes and memes) that have no interest in us except as conduits for replication. Richard Dawkins, for example, jolted us into realizing that we are just survival mechanisms for our own genes, sophisticated robots in service of huge colonies of replicators to whom concepts of rationality, intelligence, agency, and even the human soul are irrelevant.

    Accepting and now forcefully responding to this decentering and disturbing idea, Keith Stanovich here provides the tools for the “robot’s rebellion,” a program of cognitive reform necessary to advance human interests over the limited interest of the replicators and define our own autonomous goals as individual human beings. He shows how concepts of rational thinking from cognitive science interact with the logic of evolution to create opportunities for humans to structure their behavior to serve their own ends. These evaluative activities of the brain, he argues, fulfill the need that we have to ascribe significance to human life.

    We may well be robots, but we are the only robots who have discovered that fact. Only by recognizing ourselves as such, argues Stanovich, can we begin to construct a concept of self based on what is truly singular about humans: that they gain control of their lives in a way unique among life forms on Earth—through rational self-determination.
  3. Lust und Freiheit

Faramerz Dabhoiwala

Wir leben in einer Zeit der sexuellen Freiheit und Selbstbestimmung. Unsere modernen Vorstellungen von Sexualität sind das Ergebnis eines tiefgreifenden historischen Wandels. In seinem glänzend geschriebenen und weltweit vielbeachteten Buch erzählt und deutet Faramerz Dabhoiwala die Geschichte der Sexualität neu. Quellenstark und unterhaltsam beschreibt der Autor, wie sich der Umgang mit dem eigenen Körper, mit Lust und Leidenschaft aufgrund neuer revolutionärer Ideen bereits im Jahrhundert der Aufklärung radikal wandelte. Es ist die Geschichte von zahllosen bisher von der Geschichtsschreibung unbeachteten Männern und Frauen, von Werken der Kunst, Literatur und der Philosophie und ihrem prägenden Einfluss auf die moderne Welt.

    Lust und Freiheit

    Faramerz Dabhoiwala

    Wir leben in einer Zeit der sexuellen Freiheit und Selbstbestimmung. Unsere modernen Vorstellungen von Sexualität sind das Ergebnis eines tiefgreifenden historischen Wandels. In seinem glänzend geschriebenen und weltweit vielbeachteten Buch erzählt und deutet Faramerz Dabhoiwala die Geschichte der Sexualität neu. Quellenstark und unterhaltsam beschreibt der Autor, wie sich der Umgang mit dem eigenen Körper, mit Lust und Leidenschaft aufgrund neuer revolutionärer Ideen bereits im Jahrhundert der Aufklärung radikal wandelte. Es ist die Geschichte von zahllosen bisher von der Geschichtsschreibung unbeachteten Männern und Frauen, von Werken der Kunst, Literatur und der Philosophie und ihrem prägenden Einfluss auf die moderne Welt.

  4. What Technology Wants

Kevin Kelly

A refreshing view of technology as a living force in the world.

This provocative book introduces a brand-new view of technology. It suggests that technology as a whole is not a jumble of wires and metal but a living, evolving organism that has its own unconscious needs and tendencies. Kevin Kelly looks out through the eyes of this global technological system to discover “what it wants.” He uses vivid examples from the past to trace technology’s long course and then follows a dozen trajectories of technology into the near future to project where technology is headed. This new theory of technology offers three practical lessons: By listening to what technology wants we can better prepare ourselves and our children for the inevitable technologies to come. By adopting the principles of pro-action and engagement, we can steer technologies into their best roles. And by aligning ourselves with the long-term imperatives of this near-living system, we can capture its full gifts. Written in intelligent and accessible language, this is a fascinating, innovative, and optimistic look at how humanity and technology join to produce increasing opportunities in the world and how technology can give our lives greater meaning.

    What Technology Wants

    Kevin Kelly

    A refreshing view of technology as a living force in the world.

    This provocative book introduces a brand-new view of technology. It suggests that technology as a whole is not a jumble of wires and metal but a living, evolving organism that has its own unconscious needs and tendencies. Kevin Kelly looks out through the eyes of this global technological system to discover “what it wants.” He uses vivid examples from the past to trace technology’s long course and then follows a dozen trajectories of technology into the near future to project where technology is headed. This new theory of technology offers three practical lessons: By listening to what technology wants we can better prepare ourselves and our children for the inevitable technologies to come. By adopting the principles of pro-action and engagement, we can steer technologies into their best roles. And by aligning ourselves with the long-term imperatives of this near-living system, we can capture its full gifts. Written in intelligent and accessible language, this is a fascinating, innovative, and optimistic look at how humanity and technology join to produce increasing opportunities in the world and how technology can give our lives greater meaning.

  5. Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not
Robert N. McCauley
The battle between religion and science, competing methods of knowing ourselves and our world, has been raging for many centuries. Now scientists themselves are looking at cognitive foundations of religion—and arriving at some surprising conclusions.
Over the course of the past two decades, scholars have employed insights gleaned from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and related disciplines to illuminate the study of religion. In Why Religion is Natural and Science Is Not, Robert N. McCauley, one of the founding fathers of the cognitive science of religion, argues that our minds are better suited to religious belief than to scientific inquiry. Drawing on the latest research and illustrating his argument with commonsense examples, McCauley argues that religion has existed for many thousands of years in every society because the kinds of explanations it provides are precisely the kinds that come naturally to human minds. Science, on the other hand, is a much more recent and rare development because it reaches radical conclusions and requires a kind of abstract thinking that only arises consistently under very specific social conditions. Religion makes intuitive sense to us, while science requires a lot of work. McCauley then draws out the larger implications of these findings. The naturalness of religion, he suggests, means that science poses no real threat to it, while the unnaturalness of science puts it in a surprisingly precarious position.
Rigorously argued and elegantly written, this provocative book will appeal to anyone interested in the ongoing debate between religion and science, and in the nature and workings of the human mind.

    Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not

    Robert N. McCauley

    The battle between religion and science, competing methods of knowing ourselves and our world, has been raging for many centuries. Now scientists themselves are looking at cognitive foundations of religion—and arriving at some surprising conclusions.

    Over the course of the past two decades, scholars have employed insights gleaned from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and related disciplines to illuminate the study of religion. In Why Religion is Natural and Science Is Not, Robert N. McCauley, one of the founding fathers of the cognitive science of religion, argues that our minds are better suited to religious belief than to scientific inquiry. Drawing on the latest research and illustrating his argument with commonsense examples, McCauley argues that religion has existed for many thousands of years in every society because the kinds of explanations it provides are precisely the kinds that come naturally to human minds. Science, on the other hand, is a much more recent and rare development because it reaches radical conclusions and requires a kind of abstract thinking that only arises consistently under very specific social conditions. Religion makes intuitive sense to us, while science requires a lot of work. McCauley then draws out the larger implications of these findings. The naturalness of religion, he suggests, means that science poses no real threat to it, while the unnaturalness of science puts it in a surprisingly precarious position.

    Rigorously argued and elegantly written, this provocative book will appeal to anyone interested in the ongoing debate between religion and science, and in the nature and workings of the human mind.

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