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100 Most Important Science Books

Nick Medford nick at hermit0.demon.co.uk
Fri Nov 12 20:59:42 EST 1999

In article <3L2X3.189959$5r2.431195 at tor-nn1.netcom.ca>, David Lloyd-
Jones <icomm5 at netcom.ca> writes
>Nick Medford <nick at hermit0.demon.co.uk> wrote
>> >
>> >                        In the same way I would argue that some,
>> certainly not all, psychology is truly scientific (falsifiable hypotheses
>> etc.). Indeed it could be (and probably has been) argued that some
>> aspects of economic theory are rooted in psychology :-)
>Agreed on both points. The question about psychology would be what books
>have we seen yet that qualify for the list?

Almost any book on cognitive neuroscience or biological psychiatry
could qualify for consideration. Two (relatively) widely-read examples
that spring to mind are Jeffrey Gray's "The Neurobiology of Anxiety"  and
Joseph LeDoux's  "The Emotional Brain".Whether they are among the
100 most important science books is another matter, but they are
certainly scientific.
>I think that putting Freud on the list would be like adding Ptolemy, on the
>grounds that the Flat Earth Theory was one of the most historically
>important contributions to the sciences of geography, navigation,
>cartography and theology. Sorry, no.

I certainly wouldn't suggest Freud was a scientist. 
>Somewhere I saw the case being made that Jung did really good stuff --
>outside of all the archetype stuff that he's famous for -- and that this
>other stuff really qualifies as psychology.  That I'm agnostic (and
>ignorant) on.
Well,I think his work qualifies as "psychology"- his theorising concerns
the psyche after all- but it's highly speculative, non-scientific theorising. 
Relatively early in his career he did some experimental studies using
word association techniques, and this is often cited as his most scientific
phase, but this characterisation is highly questionable. 

Having misremembered the stamp-collecting quote so thoroughly, I
hesitate to essay another, but I can't resist at this point quoting
Nietzsche's maxim that "Idleness is the beginning of all psychology".

>                                 Best  wishes,
>                                        -dlj.
Nick Medford

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