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Notes by RBJ on

The Third Culture

by John Brockman

From the Cover of the book
Full contents list
PtCh
John BrockmanIntroduction
1The EVOLUTIONARY IDEA
1George C. WilliamsA package of Information
2Stephen Jay GouldThe Pattern of Life's History
3Richard Dawkins (feature)A Survival Machine
4Brian GoodwinBiology is Just a Dance
5Steve JonesWhy Is There So Much Genetic Diversity?
6Niles EldridgeA Battle of Words
7Lynn MargulisGaia is a Tough Bitch
2A COLLECTION of KLUDGES
8Marvin MinksySmart Machines
9Roger SchankInformation is Surprises
10Daniel C. DennetIntuition Pumps
11Nicholas HumphreyThe Thick Moment
12Francisco VarelaThe Emergent Self
13Steven Pinker (at edge)Language is a Human Instinct
14Roger PenroseConsciousness Involves Noncomputable Ingredients
3QUESTIONS of ORIGINS
15Martin ReesAn Ensemble of Universes
16Alan GuthA Universe in Your Backyard
17Lee SmolinA Theory of The Whole Universe
18Paul DaviesThe Synthetic Path
4What was DARWIN'S ALGORITHM?
19Murray Gell-MannPlectics
20Stuart KauffmanOrder for Free
21Christopher G. LangtonA Dynamical Pattern
22J. Doyne FarmerThe Second Law of Organisation
5SOMETHING that GOES BEYOND OURSELVES
23W. Daniel HillisClose to the Singularity

This book is the result of interviews with a collection of authors of popular scientific books. Brockman has edited himself out of the interviews so that they are presented as monologues, but he has edited in after each monologue comments by the other authors in the collection.

The result is very readable and interesting.

Brockman also presents his own little story in the introduction (which explains the title). This is along the lines that these literate scientists are the people to read rather than the boring old literary intellectuals who have hitherto dominated the media. The title is suggesting that these people are neither of C.P.Snow's two cultures but a third, a new intelligentsia who have all the interesting new ideas.

Sounds all rather elitist to me, but it is the most interesting book I read in 1996.

See also:

Review of "The Third Culture"
By Steve Fuller, from a sociologists point of view.
Digerati
Electing the Cyber-Elite, putting them on pedestals, and gawping in wonder.
The THIRD CULTURE collection
Another version of "the third culture"?.

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