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Nobody at Home

Jon Elster, 2 June 1983

Selfless Persons: Imagery and Thought in Theravada Buddhism 
by Steven Collins.
Cambridge, 323 pp., £22.50, June 1982, 0 521 24081 6
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Le Bonheur-Liberté: Bouddhisme Profond et Modernité 
by Serge-Christophe Kolm.
Presses Universitaires de France, 637 pp., £150, January 1983, 9782130373162
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... Most people have had similar experiences, I suspect. In his book on Theravada Buddhism, Steven Collins refers to the ‘water imagery’ expressive of the state of mind of the meditator ‘in which all mental phenomena can be seen and classified “as they really are”... like a clear pond through which the stones, plants, and suchlike, on the ...

What’s in the bottle?

Donald MacKenzie: The Science Wars Revisited, 9 May 2002

The One Culture? A Conversation about Science 
edited by Jay Labinger and Harry Collins.
Chicago, 329 pp., £41, August 2001, 0 226 46722 8
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... Erwin Chargaff, Jacob Bronowski, Gunther Stent, Brian Petley, and the trio of Richard Lewontin, Steven Rose and Leon Kamin. In a modest ‘anti-Sokal’ hoax, one of the contributors to The One Culture?, Steven Shapin, leads the reader initially to assume that the quotations come from critics of science in the arts and ...

What did you expect?

Steven Shapin: The banality of moon-talk, 1 September 2005

Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth 
by Andrew Smith.
Bloomsbury, 308 pp., £17.99, April 2005, 0 7475 6368 3
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... astronaut would have stuck in a flag and said: “I name this moon Elizabeth.”’ And Michael Collins – the Apollo 11 astronaut left behind orbiting in the command module – was the first of several Apollonians who suggested eventually sending a ‘priest, poet or philosopher’: ‘From these people you might get a much better feeling of what we ...

Diary

Colin McGinn: A Philosopher in LA, 4 September 1986

... Oz). One evening in Westwood Village, after seeing Scorsese’s film The King of Comedy, I noticed Steven Spielberg coralled by rain in the cinema foyer, preferring multiple recognition to getting wet on his way to the parking lot. Sunday jogging between the smoggy carriage-ways of San Vicente came to a halt, which must have been a relief to the ...

Walking in high places

Michael Neve, 21 October 1982

The Ferment of Knowledge: Studies in the Historiography of 18th-Century Science 
edited by G.S. Rousseau and R.S. Porter.
Cambridge, 500 pp., £25, November 1980, 9780521225991
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Romanticism and the Forms of Ruin 
by Thomas McFarland.
Princeton, 432 pp., £24.60, February 1981, 0 691 06437 7
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Poetry realised in Nature: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Early 19th-Century Science 
by Trevor Levere.
Cambridge, 271 pp., £22.50, October 1981, 0 521 23920 6
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Coleridge 
by Richard Holmes.
Oxford, 102 pp., £1.25, March 1982, 0 19 287591 4
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Young Charles Lamb 1775-1802 
by Winifred Courtney.
Macmillan, 411 pp., £25, July 1982, 0 333 31534 0
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... are not assumed always to have produced great practical breakthroughs. As one of the contributors, Steven Shapin, neatly turns it, Was ist Aufklärung? is now also Wofur ist Aufklärung? – what is it for? And the information gathered here will assist anyone wanting to see the myth behind the view that the sciences were spontaneously generated after the ...

Reconstituted Chicken

Philip Kitcher, 2 October 1997

This is Biology 
by Ernst Mayr.
Harvard, 340 pp., £19.95, April 1997, 9780674884687
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... and so forth. The principal villains seen as promulgating these doctrines are scholars like Harry Collins, Sandra Harding, Bruno Latour, Simon Schaffer and Steven Shapin. Now whether these alleged enemies have anything in common, and whether there is a genuine package of claims about science that count as constructivism or ...

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