The peoples who inhabited Europe during the two millennia before the Roman conquests had established urban centers, large-scale production of goods such as pottery and iron tools, a money economy, and elaborate rituals and ceremonies. Yet as the author argues here, the visual world of these late prehistoric communities was profoundly different from those of ancient Rome’s literate civilization and today’s industrialized societies. Drawing on startling new research in neuroscience and cognitive psychology, this text reconstructs how the peoples of pre-Roman Europe saw the world and their place in it.
An expert on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy shows how a Christian worldview and themes undergird Tolkien’s classic works, in a thought-provoking book timed to publish with the release of The Hobbit movie.
Satire TV examines what happens when comedy becomes political, and politics become funny. A series of original essays focus on a range of programs, from The Daily Show to South Park, Da Ali G Show to The Colbert Report, The Boondocks to Saturday Night Live, Lil’ Bush to Chappelle’s Show, along with Internet D.I.Y. satire and essays on British and Canadian satire. They all offer insights into what today’s class of satire tells us about the current state of politics, of television, of citizenship, all the while suggesting what satire adds to the political realm that news and documentaries cannot.
“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” The prophetic words of Galadriel, addressed to Frodo as he prepared to travel from Lothlórien to Mordor to destroy the One Ring, are just as pertinent to J. R. R. Tolkien’s own fiction. For decades, hobbits and the other fantastical creatures of Middle-earth have captured the imaginations of a fiercely loyal tribe of readers, all enhanced by the immense success of Peter Jackson’s films: first The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and now his newest movie, The Hobbit. But for all Tolkien’s global fame and the familiarity of modern culture with Gandalf, Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam, the sources of the great mythmaker’s own myth-making have been neglected.
Mark Atherton here explores the chief influences on Tolkien’s work: his boyhood in the West Midlands; the landscapes and seascapes which shaped his mythologies; his experiences in World War I; his interest in Scandinavian myth; his friendships, especially with the other Oxford-based Inklings; and the relevance of his themes, especially ecological themes, to the present-day.
The problem of consciousness continues to be a subject of great debate in cognitive science. Synthesizing decades of research, The Conscious Brain advances a new theory of the psychological and neurophysiological correlates of conscious experience.
Prinz’s account of consciousness makes two main claims: first consciousness always arises at a particular stage of perceptual processing, the intermediate level, and, second, consciousness depends on attention. Attention changes the flow of information allowing perceptual information to access memory systems. Neurobiologically, this change in flow depends on synchronized neural firing. Neural synchrony is also implicated in the unity of consciousness and in the temporal duration of experience.
Prinz also explores the limits of consciousness. We have no direct experience of our thoughts, no experience of motor commands, and no experience of a conscious self. All consciousness is perceptual, and it functions to make perceptual information available to systems that allows for flexible behavior.
Prinz concludes by discussing prevailing philosophical puzzles. He provides a neuroscientifically grounded response to the leading argument for dualism, and argues that materialists need not choose between functional and neurobiological approaches, but can instead combine these into neurofunctional response to the mind-body problem.
The Conscious Brain brings neuroscientific evidence to bear on enduring philosophical questions, while also surveying, challenging, and extending philosophical and scientific theories of consciousness. All readers interested in the nature of consciousness will find Prinz’s work of great interest.
Modernity has challenged the ancient ideal of a universal quest for wisdom, and today’s world of conflicting cultures and values has raised further doubts regarding the possibility of objective ethical standards. Robert Kane refocuses the debate on the philosophical quest for wisdom, and argues that ethical principles about right action and the good life can be seen to emerge from that very quest itself. His book contends that the search for wisdom involves a persistent striving to overcome narrowness of vision that comes from the inevitable limitations of finite points of view. When applied to questions of value and the good life, this striving has ethical implications about the way we should treat ourselves and others. This study argues for the merits of this central thesis against alternative theories in contemporary normative ethics, and discusses its practical applications for social ethics, political philosophy, law and moral education.
Uncommon sense : the strangest ideas from the smartest philosophers / Andrew Pessin.
In eighteen lively chapters, Andrew Pessin examines the most unusual ideas from the ancient Greeks and contemporary thinkers, how they have influenced the course of Western thought, and why, despite being so odd, they just might be correct.
Energy, the subtle concept : the discovery of Feynman’s blocks from Leibniz to Einstein / Jennifer Coopersmith.
Energy is at the heart of physics and of huge importance to society and yet no book exists specifically to explain this elusive concept, and in simple, largely non-mathematical, terms. In tracking the history of energy and its discovery, this book explains the intellectual revolutions required to comprehend energy. Foundational texts by Descartes, Leibniz, Bernoulli, d’Alembert, Lagrange, Hamilton, Boltzmann, Clausius, Carnot, and others are made accessible, and the engines of Watt and Joule are examined.
The rise and fall of détente : American foreign policy and the transformation of the Cold War / Jussi M. Hanhimäki.
Jussi M. Hanhimäki offers students and scholars a survey of the evolution of American foreign policy during a key period in recent history, the era of superpower détente and global transformation in the 1960s and 1970s. Describing détente as not only an era but also a strategy of waging the Cold War, Hanhimäki examines the reasons that led to the rise of détente, explores the highlights of the era’s reduced East-West tensions, and explains the causes of détente’s demise.
The ecology of freedom : the emergence and dissolution of hierarchy / Murray Bookchin
“The very notion of the domination of nature by man stems from the very real domination of human by human.” With this succinct formulation, Murray Bookchin launches his most ambitious work, The Ecology of Freedom. An engaging and extremely readable book of breathtaking scope, its inspired synthesis of ecology, anthropology and political theory traces our conflicting legacies of hierarchy and freedom from the first emergence of human culture to today’s globalized capitalism, constantly pointing the way to a sane, sustainable ecological future.