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Science, Technology, and Mathematics > Philosophy of Science

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Albert Meets America Cover

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Albert Meets America

How Journalists Treated Genius during Einstein's 1921 Travels

edited by J

In 1919, newspaper headlines said that a British expedition had confirmed Einstein's general theory of relativity. The news stirred the public imagination on both sides of the Atlantic and thrust the scientist into the spotlight of fame. Two years later, Chaim Weizmann led a fund-raising mission to the United States and invited Einstein to join it. The mission traveled to New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Hartford to campaign for public awareness and support of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This brought Einstein within the grasp of the American media. His lectures delivered in New York, Princeton, and Chicago, and comments on the Jewish presence in Palestine, made Einstein, on his first trip to America, one of the first media stars. In Albert Meets America, József Illy presents a fascinating compilation of media stories of Einstein’s tour—which cover his science, his Zionism, and the anti-Semitism he encountered. As we travel with Einstein, from headline to headline, we experience his emotional connection with American Jews and his frustration at becoming world famous even though his theories were not truly understood. This exciting collection gives readers an intimate glimpse into the life of one of the world’s first modern celebrities and a unique understanding of the media's power over both its subject and its audience.

The Anthropology of Extinction Cover

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The Anthropology of Extinction

Essays on Culture and Species Death

Edited by Genese Marie Sodikoff

We live in an era marked by an accelerating rate of species death, but since the early days of the discipline, anthropology has contemplated the death of languages, cultural groups, and ways of life. The essays in this collection examine processes of—and our understanding of—extinction across various domains. The contributors argue that extinction events can be catalysts for new cultural, social, environmental, and technological developments—that extinction processes can, paradoxically, be productive as well as destructive. The essays consider a number of widely publicized cases: island species in the Galápagos and Madagascar; the death of Native American languages; ethnic minorities under pressure to assimilate in China; cloning as a form of species regeneration; and the tiny hominid Homo floresiensis fossils ("hobbits') recently identified in Indonesia. The Anthropology of Extinction offers compelling explorations of issues of widespread concern.

The Anticipatory Corpse Cover

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The Anticipatory Corpse

Medicine, Power, and the Care of the Dying

Jeffrey P. Bishop

In this original and compelling book, Jeffrey P. Bishop, a philosopher, ethicist, and physician, argues that something has gone sadly amiss in the care of the dying by contemporary medicine and in our social and political views of death, as shaped by our scientific successes and ongoing debates about euthanasia and the “right to die”—or to live. The Anticipatory Corpse: Medicine, Power, and the Care of the Dying, informed by Foucault’s genealogy of medicine and power as well as by a thorough grasp of current medical practices and medical ethics, argues that a view of people as machines in motion—people as, in effect, temporarily animated corpses with interchangeable parts—has become epistemologically normative for medicine. The dead body is subtly anticipated in our practices of exercising control over the suffering person, whether through technological mastery in the intensive care unit or through the impersonal, quasi-scientific assessments of psychological and spiritual “medicine.”

Beautiful Chaos Cover

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Beautiful Chaos

Chaos Theory and Metachaotics in Recent American Fiction

Explores the way chaos theory is incorporated in the work of such writers as Toni Morrison, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, Don DeLillo, and Michael Crichton. Beautiful Chaos is the first book to examine contemporary American fiction through the lens of chaos theory. The book focuses on recent works of fiction by John Barth, Michael Crichton, Don DeLillo, Michael Dorris, Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, Thomas Pynchon, Carol Shields, and Robert Stone, all of whom incorporate aspects of chaos theory in one or more of their novels. They accomplish this through their disruption of conventional linear narrative forms and their use of strategic tropes of chaos and order, but also—and more significantly for an understanding of the interaction of science and fiction—through their self-conscious embrace of the current rhetoric of chaos theory. Since the publication of James Gleick’s Chaos: Making a New Science in 1987, chaos theory has been taken up by a wide variety of literary critics and other scholars of the arts. While considering the relationship between chaos theory and recent American fiction, Beautiful Chaos details basic assumptions about orderly and dynamic systems and the various manifestations of chaos theory in literature, including mimesis, metaphor, model, and metachaotics. It also explains particular features of orderly and dynamic systems, including entropy, bifurcation and turbulence, noise and information, scaling and fractals, iteration, and strange attractors.

Blip, Ping, and Buzz Cover

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Blip, Ping, and Buzz

Making Sense of Radar and Sonar

Mark Denny

Have you ever wondered how stealth planes achieve "invisibility," how sunken ships are found, or how fishermen track schools of fish in vast expanses of ocean? Radar and sonar echolocation—a simple matter of sending, receiving, and processing signals. Weaving history with simple science, Mark Denny deftly reveals the world of radar and sonar to the curious reader, technology buff, and expert alike. He begins with an early history of the Chain Home radar system used during World War II and then provides accessible and engaging explanations of the physics that make signal processing possible. Basic diagrams and formulas show how electromagnetic and sound waves are transmitted, received, and converted into images, allowing you to literally see in the dark. A section on bioacoustic echolocation, with a focus on the superior sonar systems of bats and whales and a discussion of the advanced technology of next-generation airborne signal processors, opens the imagination to fascinating possibilities for the future.

Challenges of Ivan Illich, The Cover

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Challenges of Ivan Illich, The

A Collective Reflection

This unique collection examines the man Utne Reader has called “the greatest social critic of the twentieth century.” The essays—all by people Illich has influenced personally—discuss how his life and thought have affected conceptualization, study, and practice of psychotherapy, notions about education, ideas concerning the historical development of the text, perceptions of technology, as well as other topics. All of Illich’s books are discussed and his ideas on education, theology, technology, anarchism, and society are examined in relationship to those of René Girard, Karl Polanyi, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jacques Ellul. Illich’s previously unpublished paper offering a new view of conspiracy in European history is included.

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Chinese Modernity and Global Biopolitics

Sheldon H. Lu

This ambitious work is a multimedia, interdisciplinary study of Chinese modernity in the context of globalization from the late nineteenth century to the present. Sheldon Lu draws on Chinese literature, film, art, photography, and video to broadly map the emergence of modern China in relation to the capitalist world-system in the economic, social, and political realms. Central to his study is the investigation of biopower and body politics, namely, the experience of globalization on a personal level. Lu first outlines the trajectory of the body in modern Chinese literature by focusing on the adventures, pleasures, and sufferings of the male (and female) body in the writings of selected authors. He then turns to avant-garde and performance art, tackling the physical self more directly through a consideration of work that takes the body as its very theme, material, and medium. In an exploration of mass visual culture, Lu analyzes artistic reactions to the multiple, uneven effects of globalization and modernization on both the physical landscape of China and the interior psyche of its citizens. This is followed by an inquiry into contemporary Chinese urban space in popular cinema and experimental photography and art. Examples are offered that capture the daily lives of contemporary Chinese as they struggle to make the transition from the vanishing space of the socialist lifestyle to the new capitalist economy of commodities. Lu reexamines the history and implications of China’s belated integration into the capitalist world system before closing with a postscript that traces the genealogy of the term "postsocialism" and points to the real relevance of the idea for the investigation of everyday life in China in the twenty-first century.

The Commodification of Academic Research Cover

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The Commodification of Academic Research

Science and the Modern University

Edited by Hans Radder

Selling science has become a common practice in contemporary universities. This commodification of academia pervades many aspects of higher education, including research, teaching, and administration. As such, it raises significant philosophical, political, and moral challenges. This volume offers the first book-length analysis of this disturbing trend from a philosophical perspective and presents views by scholars of philosophy of science, social and political philosophy, and research ethics. The epistemic and moral responsibilities of universities, whether for-profit or nonprofit, are examined from several philosophical standpoints. The contributors discuss the pertinent epistemological and methodological questions, the sociopolitical issues of the organization of science, the tensions between commodified practices and the ideal of “science for the public good,” and the role of governmental regulation and personal ethical behavior. In order to counter coercive and corruptive influences of academic commodification, the contributors consider alternatives to commodified research and offer practical recommendations for establishing appropriate research standards, methodologies and institutional arrangements, and a corresponding normative ethos.

Concepts of Simultaneity Cover

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Concepts of Simultaneity

From Antiquity to Einstein and Beyond

Max Jammer

Max Jammer's Concepts of Simultaneity presents a comprehensive, accessible account of the historical development of an important and controversial concept—which played a critical role in initiating modern theoretical physics—from the days of Egyptian hieroglyphs through to Einstein's work in 1905, and beyond. Beginning with the use of the concept of simultaneity in ancient Egypt and in the Bible, the study discusses its role in Greek and medieval philosophy as well as its significance in Newtonian physics and in the ideas of Leibniz, Kant, and other classical philosophers. The central theme of Jammer's presentation is a critical analysis of the use of this concept by philosophers of science, like Poincaré, and its significant role in inaugurating modern theoretical physics in Einstein's special theory of relativity. Particular attention is paid to the philosophical problem of whether the notion of distant simultaneity presents a factual reality or only a hypothetical convention. The study concludes with an analysis of simultaneity's importance in general relativity and quantum mechanics.

Controversies in Science and Technology Cover

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Controversies in Science and Technology

From Maize to Menopause

Edited by Daniel Lee Kleinman, Abby J. Kinchy, and Jo Handelsman

Written for general readers, teachers, journalists, and policymakers, this volume explores four controversial topics in science and technology, with commentaries from experts in such fields as sociology, religion, law, ethics, and politics:

* Antibiotics and Resistance: the science, the policy debates, and perspectives from a microbiologist, a veterinarian, and an M.D.

* Genetically Modified Maize and Gene Flow: the science of genetic modification, protecting genetic diversity, agricultural biotech vesus the environment, corporate patents versus farmers' rights

* Hormone Replacement Theory and Menopause: overview of the Women's Health Initiative, history of hormone replacement therapy, the medicalization of menopause, hormone replacement therapy and clinical trials

* Smallpox: historical and medical overview of smallpox, government policies for public health, the Emergency Health Powers Act, public resistance vs. cooperation.

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