Tag: New Books in Big Ideas

Thomas Mira y Lopez, “The Book of Resting Places: A Personal History of Where We Lay the Dead” (Counterpoint Press, 2017)

Zoe Bossiere , February 28th, 2018


We’ve all participated in the rituals of the dead at some time or another in our lives, going to funerals and wakes, visiting loved ones in cemeteries. Some…


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Owen Flanagan, “The Geography of Morals: Varieties of Moral Possibility” (Oxford UP, 2017)

Carrie Figdor , December 15th, 2017


What is it to be moral, to lead an ethically good life? From a naturalistic perspective, any answer to this question begins from an understanding of what humans…


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Zek Valkyrie, “Game Worlds Get Real: How Who We Are Online Became Who We Are Offline” (Praeger, 2017)

Jared Miracle , December 15th, 2017


Zek Valkyrie teaches at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. His new book, Game Worlds Get Real: How Who We Are Online Became Who We Are Offline…


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Carrie Jenkins, “What Love is: And What it Could Be” (Basic Books, 2017)

Carla Nappi , April 25th, 2017


Carrie Jenkins‘ new book is a model for what public philosophy can be. Beautifully written, thoughtful, and compellingly and carefully argued, What Love Is: And What it Could…


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Cristina Bicchieri, “Norms in the Wild: How to Diagnose, Measure, and Change Social Norms” (Oxford UP, 2017)

Robert Talisse , April 1st, 2017


Humans engage in a wide variety of collective behaviors, ranging from simple customs like wearing a heavy coat in winter to more complex group actions, as when an…


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Philip Roscoe, “A Richer Life: How Economics Can Change the Way We Think and Feel” (Penguin, 2015)

Dave O'Brien , November 19th, 2015


So many of our social questions are now the subject of analysis from economics. In A Richer Life: How Economics can Change the Way We Think and Feel (Penguin, 2015), Phillip…


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Eric H. Cline, “1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed” (Princeton University Press, 2014)

Robert Broadway , October 7th, 2015


It quickly sold out in hardback, and then, within a matter of days, sold out in paperback. Available again as a 2nd edition hardback, and soon in the…


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Asya Pereltsvaig and Martin Lewis, “The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics” (Cambridge UP, 2015)

George Walkden , July 21st, 2015


Who were the Indo-Europeans? Were they all-conquering heroes? Aggressive patriarchal Kurgan horsemen, sweeping aside the peaceful civilizations of Old Europe? Weed-smoking drug dealers rolling across … Visit New…


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Daniel Cloud, “The Domestication of Language” (Columbia UP, 2014)

Marshall Poe , December 16th, 2014


One of the most puzzling things about humans is their ability to manipulate symbols and create artifacts. Our nearest relatives in the animal kingdom–apes–have only the rudiments of…


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William Arnal and Russell T. McCutcheon, “The Sacred Is the Profane: The Political Nature of Religion” (Oxford UP, 2013)

Kristian Petersen , June 27th, 2014


What brings us together as scholars in Religious Studies? Are the various social phenomena commonly grouped together as religion really that similar? The Sacred Is the Profane: The…


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Morris B. Hoffman, “The Punisher’s Brain: The Evolution of Judge and Jury” (Cambridge UP, 2014)

Marshall Poe , June 11th, 2014


Why do we feel guilty–and sometimes hurt ourselves–when we harm someone? Why do we become angry–and sometimes violent–when we see other people being harmed? Why do we forgive…


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Brent Nongbri, “Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept” (Yale University Press, 2013)

Kristian Petersen , January 18th, 2014


We all know that religion is a universal feature of human history, right? Well, maybe not. In Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept (Yale University Press,…


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Frans De Waal, “The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among Primates” (Norton, 2013)

Marshall Poe , July 17th, 2013


Humans are quite a bit like chimpanzees, genetically speaking. Of course humans are quite a bit like fruit flies, genetically speaking. But when it comes to behavior, humans…


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Jared Diamond, “The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?” (Viking, 2012)

Marshall Poe , April 25th, 2013


It’s pretty common–and has long been–for people to think that the “way it used to be” is better than the way it is. This tendency to idealize an…


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Marlene Zuk, “Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live” (Norton, 2013)

Marshall Poe , April 22nd, 2013


The Hebrews called it “Eden.” The Greeks and Romans called it the “Golden Age.” The philosophes–or Rousseau at least–called it the “State of Nature.” Marx and Engels called…


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Azar Gat, “War in Human Civilization” (Oxford UP, 2006)

Marshall Poe , July 15th, 2010


Historians don’t generally like the idea of “human nature.” We tend to believe that people are intrinsically malleable, that they have no innate “drives,” “instinct… Visit New Books…


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P. Bingham and J. Souza, “Death From a Distance and the Birth of a Humane Universe” (BookSurge, 2009)

Marshall Poe , April 30th, 2010


Long ago, historians more or less gave up on “theories of history.” They determined that human nature was too unpredictable, cultures too various, and developmental patterns too evanescent…


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Gregory Cochran, “The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution” (Basic, 2009)

Marshall Poe , March 6th, 2009


First, the conventional wisdom. Because Homo sapiens are a young species and haven’t had time to genetically differentiate, we modern humans are all basically genetically identical. Because Homo……


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