there is a common snobbery that an information source has to be badly written in an obscure journal for it to be authoritive or useful. this is not so and many popular sources of information are popular just because they are coherently and concisely written by scientists who have taught themselves to write and by journalists who have learnt to research.
you will find no concession in this reading
list to snobbery or political correctness; just useful, readable sources
of information and ideas. the books are laid out in the format of book,
author, date, publisher and/or isbn and then any comments.
There are a growing number of popularising books on what is called socio-biology. The logic in these books is usually rather circular. Animals behave this or thus because behaving this or thus enables them to increase and multiply, therefore evolution selected them to increase and multiply, or some such. I do not regard this logic as entirely satisfactory.
Evolution is a useful and effective way of categorising our knowledge of the ‘living’ world.
With this caution in mind, I recommend the following for general reading and orientation:
A useful popularisation of modern ideas concerning
the propagation and survival of genes. The second edition is more tightly
written than the first. Dawkins’ Climbing Mount Improbable
is a useful adjunct. I would advise reading both these books in context,
with other books in this section and Axlerod’s Evolution
of Co-operation (details in next section). It is very easy to
draw too simplistic an understanding of the evolutionary model.
Genome: The autobiography of a species in 23 chapters
[1st edn: 1999]
This is a useful general read, outlining current thinking and progress in understanding of the gene.
HarperCollins, 0060932902; pbk
Fourth Estate, 185702835X; pbk
HarperCollins, 006019497; hbk
£15.99 [amazon.co.uk] 1968 Routledge; ;0415136598; pbk; but probably o/p
The Evolution of Cooperation
(pbk, 1985, Basic Books, 0465021212
$21 [amazon.com] / £16.99 [amazon.co.uk]
essential reading for all libertarians.
For more recent work and related links, see game theory section at useful links
The Road to Serfdom
(pbk, 1994, Univ of Chicago Pr,0226320618)
(pbk, Routledge/Taylor & Francis Books, 0415253896)
essential reading for all socialists
Banks, Iain M.
Russell, Eric Frank
Van Vogt, A.E.
Garber, Howard L.
Johnson & Reed
C. S. Fischer et al.
There is very little that is both well written and technically accurate in this field at present. As the need is pressing, I have listed the best of which I currently know.
Most of the best work comes from America, as does a bunch of unmitigated crap, there is a plethora of ‘Woolworth’s’ ‘psychology’, which does more harm than good. A good crap detector is an important essential even with the best work.
A little knowledge is dangerous, it is advised that you read
around the subject. Media, talk shows and soaps are riddled with idiocy
but are a major source for much of our society’s received ‘wisdom’.
Qualifications and Education
for citizenship and the teaching of democracy in schools
Robb, Jean & Letts, Hilary
John, with Declare, Joan
Keynes, John Maynard
Myers, David G.
email abelard at abelard.org
© abelard, 1998
the address for this document is http://www.abelard.org/reading/rec-hi.htm