Science And Philosophy

  • 1. SCIENCE MATTERS Robert M.Hazen & James Trefil
  • 3. THE MIND OF GOD Paul Davies
  • 5. MODERN PHILOSOPHY Roger Scruton
  • *** See also this list of mine ***
Author Comments: 

1. Not hard to read; informative on the basics.

2. Ditto. But I would not recommend the chapter on ethics, which should have been even-handed but instead favors one particular ethical theory (Ayn Rand's).

3. Not religious, despite the title. A scientist argues that the universe is structured around mathematics (no hard math in the book, though). It's also about how the Big Bang might have happened. A very good read for pop-science buffs.

4. A history of Western philosophy. A bit of a wade through, but very informative.

5. An excellent, if quirky, survey of modern philosophy. Not terribly difficult, but not for absolute beginners either.

Here's a List of Famous People Who Have Studied Philosophy

Isn't it funny that philosophical principles come in three, and in comedies, so do jokes? Just a thought....

Special thanks for this comment. I had just about decided that no one at The Listology was interested.

I hadn't noticed that about comedies. I'll be watching for it the next one I catch. Does it apply to sitcoms? - my current favorite is JUST SHOOT ME.

Btw, the idea that philosophical principles and positions on philosophical questions fall into three groups isn't the official line in the discipline, it's my own thesis. I gave a seminar on it at my local university a few years ago and I'm working on a book about it.

I believe the principle applies to sit-coms. I learned it in the theatre-- basically there tend to be thr jokes in a series, or three funny lines around the same premis, with the third one being the funniest, or the "topper," that makes you laugh the most hysterically or is the most unexpected. I of course can't think of an example.

About philosophy-- I had always tended to think of it mostly in terms of "practical philosophy" or what you are calling "Applied Philosophy." I find the rational argument part of philosophy very difficult. I start out rationally arguing, and then get very emotional. I don't know if its being female, or being a 'creative type" or just not being grown-up enough. My current search is for a philosophy that suits me!, although I find it all very interesting.

BTW- the division into three makes sense to me, although I think humans naturally divide into twos so we can easily compare and contrast.

Yes, nadine, I probably should add an example of Applied Philosophy to my Introduction. The main areas, traditionally, have been Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Science, and Political Philosophy; but recently (= in the last 25 years or so), Environmental Philosophy has grown large. There's also Applied Ethics, which has many subdivisions, e.g., Bioethics (= largely, Medical Ethics, including the ethics of gene technology). So, as you can see, there are dozens of topics to choose from. Any of these interest you?

I tend to be interested, I think, in Philosophy of Religion. I am most interested in how we can apply our philosophy of life to actually living life... so, as I said, I think the qualifies as religion, even though I am particularly into organized religion. I have to say that in reading through your "Introduction" it was the most clear description and synthesis I have ever seen of the "Logic" part of philosophy. It seems to have encapsualted a semesters worth of boring philosophy class into about a paragraph.

nadine, the topic you are interested in I would call Philosophy of Life rather than P. of Religion. But there is some overlap between the two. I'll look at adding a paragraph or two about Philosophy of Life, but it might take me a week or two to get around to it.

Btw, let me re-emphasise that there is much more to the 'logic' part (language, reasoning, truth, etc.) than I have touched on. If you are presently doing a philosophy course, I strongly advise you to pay attention to what your instructor says rather than my 'Introduction'.

Thanks-- no course, I am well out of school. I actually chose not to take the "Logic" course in college because I know it would make me crazy-- I took an introductory course that went through each of the most well-known philosophers and what they believed, from Greece to Modern Day.


Bertie's right out about the Philosophy of Religion. When I was getting my degree in the aforementioned subject, I took a class mainly for the reasons you stated you were interested in it. Boy, was I disappointed.
A couple of books that you might find interesting, from a more "Philosophy of Life" perspective are Walter Kaufman's excellent anthology "Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre" and William Barrett's well thought out book "Irrational Man". These books are both staples in the Existentialist movement in philosophy and very good because there is a lot of overlap with religion, mainly Judeo-Christian concepts, and disucssion of the human understanding and reaction to the Divine. So often people only know Existentialism for it's athestic proponents, e.g. Sarte and Camus, but as the aforementioned books will show you, it was, first and foremost a theistic movement, e.g. Kierkegaard and Jaspers.

May you find your way steady and true,

Dr. Nut

Dr Nut, am I right in thinking "Bertie's right out" is a typo and you meant to write "Bertie's right about"?

Nadine, existentialism has a fascinating history and it's well worth trying the various versions on for size, but it's only one of many Philosophy of Life alternatives you should investigate. (Btw, I'm still working on the addition).


Yep, just a typo!

Grammatically Yours,

Dr. Nut

Thank you all for the tips!


Let me hop into the middle of this thread that the 'rule of three' basically applies to everything. People have an easy time remembering things in threes, and also the human attention span works best when reading or listening to anything that's split up into three sections or points. I assure you that this is especially poignant in both public speaking and religious speaking [preaching] courses.

Yeah, and here's something on The Rule of Three in Comedy. But I don't see how it fits my favorite short joke, which goes:

A horse walked into a bar. The barman said, "Why the long face?"

Wait a minutute, that breaks up into three phrases, doesn't it!

Bertie, you've obviously studied a fair bit of the stuff (philosophy that is). I really appreciated your intro and think it's just the ting to refer a freind of mine to who wants to know what I've been studying all these years. Thanks.

It's cheeky, but could you tell me what uni you are associated with?


Flannery, thanks for the great compliment. I need all the encouragement I can get.

I'll tell you this much: my uni is in New South Wales, Australia. Where did/do you study the stuff?

By the way, my Introduction is still incomplete. I neglected to put Empiricism, Rationalism, Pragmatism in the Knowledge section, and I have to get around to completing the Phil. of Religion section. Also, I'll probably add a section on the Phil. of Science - and should, given the title of this list.

Good god almighty, bertie- that is one long introduction.

It is extremely well thought-out, however, and I for one have to say thanks for taking the time to put it up here. It's very cool.

Thanks for taking the time to read it, and for the compliments. Do I take it your vote is for an addition on the subject of Philosophy of Religion?