Oxford University Press just reprinted a book called the Oxford Guide to Philosophy, edited by Ted Honderich. This is a dictionary-like, encyclopedia-like book with 1,000 pages delving into philosophy from A-Z. This hardback is surprisingly affordable ($9.99 U.S.D. at Border’s Books and Music). If you’re a geek like me, you may find that the elaborate “maps of philosophy” (extensive tree diagrams showing the taxonomy of the large philosophical branches), are worth the $10.00 all by themselves.
The Assault On Reason by Al Gore is a must read for anyone trying to make sense of the last 8 years of political turmoil in the U.S. In this book Al Gore acknowledges either/or fallacious thinking as a problem in our time. He analyzes the tactics and blunders used by our current administration. More importantly, he acknowledges the undermining of free critical thought. This is a great book for those who may have put a foot through their TV or radio back in 2000. Or for those that four years later took a peak at the TV once again only to hear our poor misguided neighbors in the red states chanting “four more years!”
An older but goody, (also available on audio), is Daniel Goleman’s book, Social Intelligence. This book covers topics that may be of interest to those fascinated by psychology, psycho-pathology, cognitive science, neuroscience and culture in general. I was surprised to find in this book early references to those mysterious “mirror neurons” and plenty of material on empathy as a form of intelligence.
A book that should be reprinted:
There’s a book that I enjoy browsing from time to time. It’s called The Oxford Companion to The Mind, edited by Richard L. Gregory. This book, like the philosophy book above, is an encyclopedia of topics related to the philosophy and science of the mind. Today new theories in the philosophy of mind field and new discoveries in neuroscience, cognitive science etc. should provide plenty of opportunities for updates to the material in that book. Heck, even the old version (1987) is still an interesting read. It’s been 10 years. I’d say that a new version is due now.
Keyword: Daniel Montano, Dan Montano, user experience design, information architect