‘Blind Spots’ author Max Bazerman discusses the Sandusky trial on WNYC’s The Takeaway

Max Bazerman, co-author of Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do about It (along with Ann Tenbrunsel) appeared on WNYC’s The Takeaway to discuss the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. You can listen to the interview below.

This Week’s Book Giveaway

Alan Turing’s Systems of Logic: The Princeton Thesis
Edited and introduced by Andrew W. Appel

Between inventing the concept of a universal computer in 1936 and breaking the German Enigma code during World War II, Alan Turing (1912-1954), the British founder of computer science and artificial intelligence, came to Princeton University to study mathematical logic. Some of the greatest logicians in the world—including Alonzo Church, Kurt Gödel, John von Neumann, and Stephen Kleene—were at Princeton in the 1930s, and they were working on ideas that would lay the groundwork for what would become known as computer science. Though less well known than his other work, Turing’s 1938 Princeton PhD thesis, “Systems of Logic Based on Ordinals,” which includes his notion of an oracle machine, has had a lasting influence on computer science and mathematics. This book presents a facsimile of the original typescript of the thesis along with essays by Andrew Appel and Solomon Feferman that explain its still-unfolding significance.

A work of philosophy as well as mathematics, Turing’s thesis envisions a practical goal—a logical system to formalize mathematical proofs so they can be checked mechanically. If every step of a theorem could be verified mechanically, the burden on intuition would be limited to the axioms. Turing’s point, as Appel writes, is that “mathematical reasoning can be done, and should be done, in mechanizable formal logic.” Turing’s vision of “constructive systems of logic for practical use” has become reality: in the twenty-first century, automated “formal methods” are now routine.

Presented here in its original form, this fascinating thesis is one of the key documents in the history of mathematics and computer science.

A slight change this week—the random draw for this book with be Thursday 5/17 at 3 pm EST. Be sure to like us on Facebook if you haven’t already to be entered to win!

If you’re ever in Brooklyn and want/need some drink and knowledge, check out the Secret Science Club as profiled in the New York Times

We were thrilled to read Jennifer Schuessler’s terrific story on the popular phenomenon of bar lecturing (and not in an intoxicated way, but a learned way!)  Check out her story here.  It looks like alcohol and science is a powerful (and successful) formula. 

The Press is pleased to have had the pleasure of working with the Secret Science Club as they’ve hosted talks for a handful of our science authors.  In particular, I was delighted to see friend-of-the-Press Dorian Devins at the SSC getting a mention!


FACT: “A flying bee expends energy at a rate of about 500 watts per kilogram (250 watts per pound), whereas the maximum power output of an Olympic rowing crew is only about 20 watts per kilogram (10 watts per pound). At any moment, however, only a small portion of the clustered bees will be shivering with maximum intensity, so the total heat output by the approximately two kilograms (four pounds) of bees in a winter cluster isn’t 1,000 watts, but is only about 40 watts, a rate of heat production like that of a small incandescent light bulb.”

Honeybee Democracy
by Thomas D. Seeley

Honeybees make decisions collectively—and democratically. Every year, faced with the life-or-death problem of choosing and traveling to a new home, honeybees stake everything on a process that includes collective fact-finding, vigorous debate, and consensus building. In fact, as world-renowned animal behaviorist Thomas Seeley reveals, these incredible insects have much to teach us when it comes to collective wisdom and effective decision making. A remarkable and richly illustrated account of scientific discovery, Honeybee Democracy brings together, for the first time, decades of Seeley’s pioneering research to tell the amazing story of house hunting and democratic debate among the honeybees.

“Dr. Seeley is an engaging guide. His enthusiasm and admiration for honeybees is infectious. His accumulated research seems truly masterly, doing for bees what E.O. Wilson did for ants.”—Katherine Bouton, New York Times

We invite you to read Chapter 1 here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s9267.pdf


Also available as part of our Princeton Shorts collection:
The Five Habits of Highly Effective Honeybees (and What We Can Learn from Them)
by Thomas D. Seeley

Studies of animal behavior have often been invoked to help explain and even guide human behavior. Think of Pavlov and his dogs or Goodall and her chimps. But, as these examples indicate, the tendency has been to focus on “higher,” more cognitively developed, and thus, it is thought, more intelligent creatures than mindless, robotic insects. Not so! Learn here how honeybees work together to form a collective intelligence and even how they make decisions democratically. The wizzzzdom of crowds indeed! Here are five habits of effective groups that we can learn from these clever honeybees.

New Cognitive Science Catalog

We invite you to be among the first to browse our new 2012 cognitive science catalog.
Browse and download it to your e-reader:

PUP’s sociology and cognitive science editor, Eric Schwartz, will be attending the Society for Social Neuroscience (S4SN) and the Science Society for Neuroscience’s (SfN) annual meeting in Washington, DC this month. You can find PUP books at booth No. 138. Of special interest at this year’s meetings are appearances by two PUP authors: neurophilosopher Patricia Churchland will be responding to the S4SN Keynote Address and economist Robert Shiller will be joining SfN President Susan Amara and neuroscientists Antonio Rangel and Wolfram Schultz in a discussion about the interplay between economics and the brain: http://www.sfn.org/am2011/index.aspx?pagename=amn_072011_Shiller.

You can read the introduction to Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism by George A. Akerlof & Robert J. Shiller at: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i9163.pdf and Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality? by Patricia S. Churchland at: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s9399.pdf.

The cognitive science catalog is full of great authors and great books. Eric Schwartz introduces the 2012 cognitive science catalog:

Our cognitive science publishing reflects the state-of-the-art of the field, and includes
work by psychologists and neuroscientists, philosophers of mind, evolutionary biologists, and social scientists of all stripes.

The catalog highlights recent and forthcoming books by Max
H. Bazerman and Ann E. Tenbrunsel, Patricia S. Churchland,
Nicholas Humphrey, Michael C. Corballis, Robert Kurzban,
Enrico Coen, and Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis, among
others. We are proud to make available in paperback Paul
Thagard’s acclaimed The Brain and the Meaning of Life, George
A. Akerlof and Rachel E. Kranton’s important Identity Economics,
and Peter Singer’s classic The Expanding Circle. We also use
this opportunity to draw your attention to significant earlier
works published by the Press by authors such as Louise Barrett,
Robin Dunbar, Frans de Waal, Jean-Pierre Changeux, Richard
L. Gregory, Richard H. Thaler, Robert J. Shiller, and Thomas
Henry Huxley. Unifying all of these authors and books, past and
present, is an effort to provide a clearer understanding of the
relationship between the brain, the mind, individual behavior,
social interaction, and social institutions.

This catalog is indicative of the bright future for the Princeton
University Press cognitive science program and we hope that
within these pages you find books and ideas that will inspire
and enlighten.

Cognitive Science Catalog 2012:

Theoretical Psychologist Nicholas Humphrey discussing SOUL DUST: The Magic of Consciousness at Princeton Public Library on October 12

If you happen to be in Princeton tomorrow, please come out to see theoretical psychologist Nicholas Humphrey discuss his new book SOUL DUST: The Magic of Consciousness at the Princeton Public Library at 7:00 PM.

The New York Times Book Review says:
Soul Dust, Nicholas Humphrey’s new book about consciousness, is seductive–early 1960s, ‘Mad Men’ seductive. His writing is as elegant, and hypnotic, as that cool jazz stacked on the record player. His argument feels as crystalline and bracing as that double martini going down, though you might find yourself a little woozy afterward. And his tone is as warm and inviting as that big, crackling fire, even if the dim flicker does leave things a bit obscure in the corners.”
— Alison Gopnik

Nicholas Humphrey discusses consciousness and performance in the San Francisco Chronicle

Nicholas Humphrey, author of Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness, spoke to journalist Kenneth Baker about his original view on consciousness: Humphrey claims that vivid consciousness makes us happy to be alive. This perspective is a result of Humphrey’s specific approach to the “consciousness problem”:

I’ve tried to understand the function of consciousness. Let’s not think about it as a cognitive skill but as a kind of theater, something we lay on in our own heads about who we are and the world in which we’re living. Let’s ask how does consciousness as we experience it affect people’s attitudes toward life… I say that consciousness is a performance we put on, and philosophers who have disparaged the so-called Cartesian theater of the mind have misunderstood the nature of theater. I think the world we make is in no way a simulacrum of the world.

Humphrey also explains the role of natural selection in human consciousness, arguing that vivid consciousness must have effects that lead to reproductive success, but that these effects cannot necessarily be “seen” or quantified:

Conscious awareness gives animals a pleasure in affirming their existence in ways that are life-enhancing. In getting more out of it, you prolong your life. You engage with the world, fall in love with it. The great success of our species has been that creative relation with the world that we have produced from out of our own consciousness. We find the world engaging partly because it’s singing our song, because its qualities are those we’ve imbued it with. In humans, what really changed is that we began to engage in reflection.

Read the rest of the article, including Humphrey’s views on suffering, here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/09/16/RVA71KMU2Q.DTL#ixzz1Zk5UgnIn

Who tops the list of famous intellectual feuds?

According to this web site, Jung and Freud are tops when it comes to academic fist-fights:

Probably one of the most famous rivalries in all of “Western” philosophy and science, Sigmund Freud started out as one of Carl Jung’s most beloved mentors before their close relationship soured. Now considered psychoanalysis’ two daddies, the intellectual juggernauts split mainly because of one massive disagreement — specifically, regarding the human unconscious. Jung didn’t believe his veritable Mr. Miyagi of all things psychological took it seriously enough. Their theories about suppressed and repressed thoughts and emotions lurking in the unconscious existed in harmony, but once Jung proposed the collective unconscious, everything began unraveling. His mentor proposed a structure involving some degree of collectivism, of course, though Jung considered it far bigger and more significant. Freud, on the other hand, saw the unconscious as a supplement to the overall psyche rather than its own unique, influential entity.

Which is good news for PUP as we will publish a new paperback titled Jung Contra Freud: The 1912 New York Lectures on the Theory of Psychoanalysis in December. These lectures, give in the autumn of 1912 are the pivotal moment that ignited this famous feud. This is where C. G. Jung set out his critique and reformulation of the theory of psychoanalysis. He challenged Freud’s understandings of sexuality, the origins of neuroses, dream interpretation, and the unconscious, and also became the first to argue that every analyst should themselves be analyzed.

While some parts of this material have previously appeared in Jung collections, the lectures in their entirety have never before been published as a separate volume. And as if that wasn’t enough, the book also features an introduction by Sonu Shamdasani, Philemon Professor of Jung History at University College London, and editor of Jung’s Red Book.

Now, back to feuding academics — what other feuds make the grade? coming in at number two are Nikolas Tesla and Thomas Edison, while C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien nab the number three spot. Click over to read the complete list of these juicy academic spats.

Psychologist Nicholas Humphrey on the airwaves talking SOUL DUST

Our author Nicholas Humphrey was on the airwaves recently discussing consciousness and his eye-opening new book SOUL DUST: The Magic of Consciousness.  On July 7 he chatted with Virginia Prescott on New Hampshire Public Radio’s Word of Mouth about the book.  And, on July 11, he discussed the book on SETI Radio. For some engrossing conversation about how science can explain what we think of as “the soul,” then check out these interviews!

SOUL DUST, Nicholas Humphrey’s new book about consciousness, is seductive–early 1960s, ‘Mad Men’ seductive. His writing is as elegant, and hypnotic, as that cool jazz stacked on the record player. His argument feels as crystalline and bracing as that double martini going down, though you might find yourself a little woozy afterward. And his tone is as warm and inviting as that big, crackling fire, even if the dim flicker does leave things a bit obscure in the corners. . . . [SOUL DUST] is not only thoroughly enjoyable but genuinely instructive, too.”
—  Alison Gopnik, New York Times Book Review

New Biology Catalog

We invite you to browse our new 2011-2012 biology catalog at:

The catalog’s cover image is Pale-madibled Toucan (Pteroglossus erythropygius). The beautiful photo is by John Kricher, author of Tropical Ecology, one of the many great books featured in this year’s catalog.

Check out these favorites in new paperback editions:

The Origin Then and Now:
An Interpretive Guide to the Origin of Species

By David N. Reznick
With an introduction by Michael Ruse

How and Why Species Multiply:
The Radiation of Darwin’s Finches

By Peter R. Grant & B. Rosemary Grant

A Mathematical Nature Walk
By John A. Adam

Be on the lookout for these new and forthcoming titles (just to name a few):

Honeybee Democracy
By Thomas D. Seeley

Pollination and Floral Ecology
By Pat Willmer

Chemical Biomarkers in Aquatic Ecosystems
By Thomas S. Bianchi & Elizabeth A. Canuel

The Cryosphere
By Shawn J. Marshall

The Crossley ID Guide:
Eastern Birds

By Richard Crossley

The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs
By Gregory S. Paul

There are too many new and forthcoming titles to list here. You’re just going to have to check it out online: http://press.princeton.edu/catalogs/bio11.pdf

Robert Kurzban’s TEDx Princeton talk

Do we have Cranium Commandos running the show in our head? Robert Kurzban, author of Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind tackles this and other questions in this fascinating TEDx talk sponsored and hosted by the Princeton Public Library.


FACT: Among the slaughtered remains found in the Drakensberg Mountains is a now-extinct giant buffalo Pelovoris antiquus, which weighed almost 2000 kilograms and whose modern-day (smaller) descendant is one of the most dangerous game animals in Africa (Milo1998).

A Cooperative Species:
Human Reciprocity and Its Evolution

by Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis

In A Cooperative Species, Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis—pioneers in the new experimental and evolutionary science of human behavior—show that the central issue is not why selfish people act generously, but instead how genetic and cultural evolution has produced a species in which substantial numbers make sacrifices to uphold ethical norms and to help even total strangers.

Using experimental, archaeological, genetic, and ethnographic data to calibrate models of the coevolution of genes and culture as well as prehistoric warfare and other forms of group competition, A Cooperative Species provides a compelling and novel account of how humans came to be moral and cooperative.

“Bowles and Gintis stress that cooperation among individuals who are only distantly related is a critical distinguishing feature of the human species. They argue forcefully that the best explanation for such cooperation is altruism. Many will dispute this claim, but it deserves serious consideration.”—Eric Maskin, Nobel Laureate in Economics

We invite you to read Chapter 1 here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s9474.pdf