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100 Most Important Science Books

SA stephan at nospam.ucla.edu
Sun Nov 14 05:08:54 EST 1999

In article <2j3imAAOYML4EwFz at hermit0.demon.co.uk>, Nick Medford
<nick at hermit0.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> 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 :-)
> >
> >Nick,
> >
> >Agreed on both points. The question about psychology would be what books
> >have we seen yet that qualify for the list?

Pavlov, Spence, Hull, Hebb, Skinner there are lots of classics, half of
psychology and a large part of neuroscience are based on.  It's hard to
say which is the most significant, but it's probably Pavlov's. There are
also lots of papers that are more significant than books, though.

As far as Freud not being a scientist, he certainly was a scientist,
unfortunately science was not what it was today.  But you can't sit and
criticize someone who basically replaced the idea that people who were
mentally ill were possesed by evil spirits.  Even Mesmer was a scientist. 
Now all of us would consider Aristotle a scientist (and widely recognized
as a fine biologist), and he thought the mind was in the bodily fluids. In
fact, if you read the work, the arguments are fairly convincing.  For
example, he noted that during periods of emotion, the heart drastically
changed in function but the brain didn't at all.  Of course, it's easy to
sit back and laugh at other people's work from long ago, but people may be
laughing at our own work in 50 years.  True some work stands the test of
time better, but this doesn't mean the work was not an important
contribution in its own time.

Just my 2c worth,

> 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.
> >
> >
> >
> Regards

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