Our understanding of vertebrate origins and the backbone of human history evolves with each new fossil find and DNA map. Many species have now had their genomes sequenced, and molecular techniques allow genetic inspection of even non-model organisms. But as longtime Nature editor Henry Gee argues in Across the Bridge, despite these giant strides and our deepening understanding of how vertebrates fit into the tree of life, the morphological chasm between vertebrates and invertebrates remains vast and enigmatic.
As Gee shows, even as scientific advances have falsified a variety of theories linking these groups, the extant relatives of vertebrates are too few for effective genetic analysis. Moreover, the more we learn about the species that do remain—from sea-squirts to starfish—the clearer it becomes that they are too far evolved along their own courses to be of much use in reconstructing what the latest invertebrate ancestors of vertebrates looked like. Fossils present yet further problems of interpretation. Tracing both the fast-changing science that has helped illuminate the intricacies of vertebrate evolution as well as the limits of that science, Across the Bridge helps us to see how far the field has come in crossing the invertebrate-to-vertebrate divide—and how far we still have to go.
Albertus Magnus has long been recognized as one of the greatest minds of the Middle Ages; his contemporaries conferred upon him the title Doctor Universalis. An epitaph at his tomb described him as prince among philosophers, greater than Plato, and hardly inferior to King Solomon in wisdom. In 1941, Pope Pius XII named Albertus Magnus patron saint of scientists.
In his work De animalibus, Albert integrated the vast amount of information on nature that had come down to him in previous centuries: the exposition of Michael Scotus’s translation from the Arabic of Aristotle’s books on the natural world (Books 1–19), Albert’s own revisions to Aristotle’s teachings (Books 20–21), and a “dictionary” of animals appropriated largely from the De natura rerum of Thomas of Cantimpré (Books 22–26). Albert’s comprehensive treatise on living things was acknowledged as the reputable authority in biology for almost five hundred years.
In this translated and annotated edition, Kenneth F. Kitchell Jr. and Irven Michael Resnick illuminate the importance of this work, allowing Albert’s magnum opus to be better understood and more widely appreciated than ever before. Broken into two volumes (Books 1–10 and 11–26),Albertus Magnus On Animals is a veritable medieval scientific encyclopedia, ranging in topics from medicine, embryology, and comparative anatomy to women, hunting and everyday life, commerce, and much more—an essential work for historians, medievalists, scientists, and philosophers alike.
Ask anyone who has owned a pet and they’ll assure you that, yes, animals have personalities. And science is beginning to agree. Researchers have demonstrated that both domesticated and nondomesticated animals—from invertebrates to monkeys and apes—behave in consistently different ways, meeting the criteria for what many define as personality. But why the differences, and how are personalities shaped by genes and environment? How did they evolve? The essays in Animal Personalities reveal that there is much to learn from our furred and feathered friends.
The study of animal personality is one of the fastest-growing areas of research in behavioral and evolutionary biology. Here Claudio Carere and Dario Maestripieri, along with a host of scholars from fields as diverse as ecology, genetics, endocrinology, neuroscience, and psychology, provide a comprehensive overview of the current research on animal personality. Grouped into thematic sections, chapters approach the topic with empirical and theoretical material and show that to fully understand why personality exists, we must consider the evolutionary processes that give rise to personality, the ecological correlates of personality differences, and the physiological mechanisms underlying personality variation.
From its founding in the late 1800s through the 1950s, Brownsville, a section of eastern Brooklyn, was a white, predominantly Jewish, working-class neighborhood. The famous New York district nurtured the aspirations of thousands of upwardly mobile Americans while the infamous gangsters of Murder, Incorporated controlled its streets. But during the 1960s, Brownsville was stigmatized as a black and Latino ghetto, a neighborhood with one of the city's highest crime rates. Home to the largest concentration of public housing units in the city, Brownsville came to be viewed as emblematic of urban decline. And yet, at the same time, the neighborhood still supported a wide variety of grass-roots movements for social change.
The story of these two different, but in many ways similar, Brownsvilles is compellingly told in this probing new work. Focusing on the interaction of Brownsville residents with New York's political and institutional elites, Wendell Pritchett shows how the profound economic and social changes of post-World War II America affected the area. He covers a number of pivotal episodes in Brownsville's history as well: the rise and fall of interracial organizations, the struggles to deal with deteriorating housing, and the battles over local schools that culminated in the famous 1968 Teachers Strike. Far from just a cautionary tale of failed policies and institutional neglect, the story of Brownsville's transformation, he finds, is one of mutual struggle and frustrated cooperation among whites, blacks, and Latinos.
Ultimately, Brownsville, Brooklyn reminds us how working-class neighborhoods have played, and continue to play, a central role in American history. It is a story that needs to be read by all those concerned with the many challenges facing America's cities today.
In Diatoms to Dinosaurs, Chris McGowan takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the natural world, and examines life in all its various forms. He imparts the excitement of discovery and the joy of understanding as he demonstrates the central importance of size and scale to the survival of living organisms.McGowan investigates a wide range of size-related phenomena, from the gliding mechanism of diatoms to blood pressure problems of dinosaurs. Questions asked -- and answered -- include: Will we ever see giant insects the size of pterodactyls? Why are ants so much stronger relative to body size than elephants? What do a clam, a condor, a tortoise, and a sturgeon have in common? How did the skeleton of a 28-ton Apatosaurus support its weight? How can blood get from the heart to the head of a giraffe without rupturing blood vessels? The author explicates the scientific concepts -- both physical and biological -- needed to inform the relevant phenomena: area/volume relations, metabolism and other basic physiology, kinetic energy, inertial forces, the biology of senescence, boundary layers, and Reynolds numbers. Numerous illustrations scattered throughout the text make the biophysical principles easily comprehensible to readers, regardless of their scientific sophistication.
Echolocation in Bats and Dolphins
Edited by Jeanette A. Thomas, Cynthia F. Moss, and Marianne Vater University of Chicago Press, 2003 Library of Congress QL737.C5E28 2004 | Dewey Decimal 573.8719
Although bats and dolphins live in very different environments, are vastly different in size, and hunt different kinds of prey, both groups have evolved similar sonar systems, known as echolocation, to locate food and navigate the skies and seas. While much research has been conducted over the past thirty years on echolocation in bats and dolphins, this volume is the first to compare what is known about echolocation in each group, to point out what information is missing, and to identify future areas of research.
Echolocation in Bats and Dolphins consists of six sections: mechanisms of echolocation signal production; the anatomy and physiology of signal reception and interpretation; performance and cognition; ecological and evolutionary aspects of echolocation mammals; theoretical and methodological topics; and possible echolocation capabilities in other mammals, including shrews, seals, and baleen whales. Animal behaviorists, ecologists, physiologists, and both scientists and engineers who work in the field of bioacoustics will benefit from this book.
Mark Denny Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress QP31.2.D46 2011 | Dewey Decimal 591.7
From an engineer’s perspective, how do specialized adaptations among living things really work? Writing with wit and a richly informed sense of wonder, Denny and Alan offer an expert look at animals—including humans—as works of evolutionary engineering, each exquisitely adapted to a specific manner of survival.
Through its emphasis on recent research, its many summary tables, and its bibliography of more than 4,000 entries, this first modern, synthetic treatment of comparative amphibian environmental physiology emerges as the definitive reference for the field. Forty internationally respected experts review the primary data, examine current research trends, and identify productive avenues for future research.
Charles Brenton Huggins won the Nobel prize in 1966 for his extensive work in cancer research. He has spent fifty years at the laboratory bench exploring the nature of this disease in an attempt to understand and control it. In this volume, based almost exclusively on experiments conducted over the past twenty years at the University of Chicago, is both the record of Huggins's own research and, in Huggins's words, "a do-it-yourself guide for cancer research workers." Written simply and clearly so that the experiments can be easily reproduced, the book presents Huggins's experiments in the induction of breast cancer and leukemia in rodents. It also describes the methods he discovered to prevent cancer and to cure many of the cancers he has been able to induce. Although most of the material concerns breast cancer and leukemia, research on other kinds of tumors is also described.
What is a body? What are our perceptions of our inner bodies? How are these perceptions influenced?
In recent years, thinking about the body has become highly fashionable. However, the renewed focus, while certainly welcome, seems to always end at the corporeal surface. While recent sociological and feminist theory has made important claims about the process of cultural inscription on the body, and about the cultural representation of the body, what actually appears in this new theory seems to be, ironically, disembodied. If this newly theorized form has interiority, it is one that is explained predominantly through psychoanalysis. The physiological processes remain a mystery to be explained, if at all, only in the esoteric language of biomedicine.
As a trained biologist, Lynda Birke was frustrated by the gap between feminist cultural analysis and her own scientific background. In this book, she seeks to bridge this gap using ideas in anatomy and physiology to develop the feminist view that the biological body is socially and culturally constructed. Birke rejects the assumption that bodily function is somehow fixed and unchanging, claiming that biology offers more than just a deterministic narrative of how nature works. Feminism and the Biological Body brings natural science and feminist theory together and suggests that we need a new politics that includes, rather than denies, our flesh.
A single species of fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has been the subject of scientific research for more than one hundred years. Why does this tiny insect merit such intense scrutiny?
Drosophila’s importance as a research organism began with its short life cycle, ability to reproduce in large numbers, and easy-to-see mutant phenotypes. Over time, laboratory investigation revealed surprising similarities between flies and other animals at the level of genes, gene networks, cell interactions, physiology, immunity, and behavior. Like humans, flies learn and remember, fight microbial infection, and slow down as they age. Scientists use Drosophila to investigate complex biological activities in a simple but intact living system. Fly research provides answers to some of the most challenging questions in biology and biomedicine, including how cells transmit signals and form ordered structures, how we can interpret the wealth of human genome data now available, and how we can develop effective treatments for cancer, diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Written by a leader in the Drosophila research community, First in Fly celebrates key insights uncovered by investigators using this model organism. Stephanie Elizabeth Mohr draws on these “first in fly” findings to introduce fundamental biological concepts gained over the last century and explore how research in the common fruit fly has expanded our understanding of human health and disease.
Rik Scarce Temple University Press, 2000 Library of Congress GF503.S23 2000 | Dewey Decimal 304.2
Leaping waterfalls, struggling through rocky shallows, only the strongest salmon survive to spawn a new generation. These remarkable fish seem to be pure nature, unfathomable, all instinct. But are they? For more than a century biologists have tried to unlock the mystery of salmon we know. For sociologist Rik Scarce, salmon represent an opportunity to probe the relationship of science, society, and nature.
About Pacific salmon -- a game fish and food source that is protected and manages for economic and environmental abundance -- Scarce writes, "What other living thing receives such extensive attention from science and society, is used in so many ways, yet retains so much of what we would like to think is its 'wild' character?" He shows how political, bureaucratic, and economic forces have directed salmon science for their own purposes and how control remains a central feature in salmon biology.
Identifying a countertrend rooted in environmental activism, Scarce also argues that an ecocentric perspective is gaining ground even as pressures mount simultaneously to save endangered salmon populations and to bring every last salmon to market. Thus, while external forces control much of the biologists' work, a movement is underway to free biology from political and economic pressures. In rich, ethnographic detail, Scarce develops this portrait of a science struggling with nature and itself. The old-line "fisheries biologists" tell how they work under immense pressure to unravel the unknowns of salmon existence to fulfill objectives of politically-motivated funding agencies. In contrast, the new breed of "conservation biology" researchers struggles to maintain the genetic diversity of salmon populations while minimizing the ways humans determine the fate of the salmon.
Fishy Business provides new ways for regarding about human interactions with other species, from appealing ones like wolves, whales, and redwood tress to less popular ones like snail darters and kangaroo rats. Society struggles to decide what parts of nature matter and why. Ultimately, Scarce argues, nature is a social product: what shall we make of it?
The Fragile Wisdom
Grazyna Jasienska Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress RA778.J43 2013 | Dewey Decimal 613.04244
Women’s physiology evolved to aid reproduction, not to reduce disease. Any trait—however detrimental to post-reproductive health—is preserved in the next generation if it increases the chances of having offspring who will survive and reproduce. For this reason, the author argues, many common diseases are especially difficult for women to prevent.
The emergence of biology as a distinct science in the eighteenth century has long been a subject of scholarly controversy. Michel Foucault, on the one hand, argued that its appearance only after 1800 represented a fundamental rupture with the natural history that preceded it, marking the beginnings of modernity. Ernst Mayr, on the other hand, insisted that even the word "biology" was unclear in its meaning as late as 1800, and that the field itself was essentially prospective well into the 1800s.
In The Gestation of German Biology, historian of ideas John Zammito presents a different version of the emergence of the field, one that takes on both Foucault and Mayr and emphasizes the scientific progress throughout the eighteenth century that led to the recognition of the need for a special science. The embrace of the term biology around 1800, Zammito shows, was the culmination of a convergence between natural history and human physiology that led to the development of comparative physiology and morphology—the foundations of biology. Magisterial in scope, Zammito’s book offers nothing less than a revisionist history of the field, with which anyone interested in the origins of biology will have to contend.
During the long twentieth century, explorers went in unprecedented numbers to the hottest, coldest, and highest points on the globe. Taking us from the Himalaya to Antarctica and beyond, Higher and Colder presents the first history of extreme physiology, the study of the human body at its physical limits. Each chapter explores a seminal question in the history of science, while also showing how the apparently exotic locations and experiments contributed to broader political and social shifts in twentieth-century scientific thinking.
Unlike most books on modern biomedicine, Higher and Colder focuses on fieldwork, expeditions, and exploration, and in doing so provides a welcome alternative to laboratory-dominated accounts of the history of modern life sciences. Though centered on male-dominated practices—science and exploration—it recovers the stories of women’s contributions that were sometimes accidentally, and sometimes deliberately, erased. Engaging and provocative, this book is a history of the scientists and physiologists who face challenges that are physically demanding, frequently dangerous, and sometimes fatal, in the interest of advancing modern science and pushing the boundaries of human ability.
How Fat Works
Philip A. Wood Harvard University Press, 2006 Library of Congress QP751.W66 2006 | Dewey Decimal 612.397
How Fat Works is a concise and up-to-date primer on the workings of fat. It is essential reading for professionals entering careers in medicine and public health administration or anyone wanting a better understanding of one of our most urgent health crises.
The injuries suffered by soldiers during WWI were as varied as they were brutal. How could the human body suffer and often absorb such disparate traumas? Why might the same wound lead one soldier to die but allow another to recover?
In The Human Body in the Age of Catastrophe, Stefanos Geroulanos and Todd Meyers uncover a fascinating story of how medical scientists came to conceptualize the body as an integrated yet brittle whole. Responding to the harrowing experience of the Great War, the medical community sought conceptual frameworks to understand bodily shock, brain injury, and the vast differences in patient responses they occasioned. Geroulanos and Meyers carefully trace how this emerging constellation of ideas became essential for thinking about integration, individuality, fragility, and collapse far beyond medicine: in fields as diverse as anthropology, political economy, psychoanalysis, and cybernetics.
Moving effortlessly between the history of medicine and intellectual history, The Human Body in the Age of Catastrophe is an intriguing look into the conceptual underpinnings of the world the Great War ushered in.
Henri Leridon University of Chicago Press, 1977 Library of Congress QP251.L4213 | Dewey Decimal 612.6
In this innovative and comprehensive work, expanded by one-third for the English-language edition, Henri Leridon integrates biology and demography to investigate human fertility, both natural and controlled. Traditionally, demographers have been concerned with birthrates in different populations under varying conditions, while biologists have limited themselves to the study of the reproductive process. Leridon has formulated the first coherent overview of the functioning of the human reproductive system in relation to the external conditions that affect fertility.
The book begins with a readable, authoritative review of human fertility in its natural state. Leridon summarizes and evaluates current knowledge, drawing together rare statistical data on physiological variables as well as demographic treatments of these data. After discussing the classical framework used by demographers, Leridon undertakes a "microdemographic" analysis in which he focuses on the individual and explicates the biological processes through which social, psychological, and economic factors affect fertility. He isolates its components—fecundability, intrauterine mortality, the physiological nonsusceptible period, and sterility—then reviews the composite effect of variation in any one component.
Leridon considers situations of controlled fertility: contraception, abortion, and sterilization. The author also presents valuable new data from his own investigations of varying risks of intrauterine mortality. Finally, he shows how the previous approaches can be complemented by the use of mathematical models.
What makes us alive? Is it our DNA? Our genetics? Is it our atomic composition that gives us life? Somehow, all of this feels radically dissonant from our everyday experience. In Life beyond Molecules and Genes, experimental biologist Stephen Rothman makes the bold case that it is, in fact, our adaptive abilities, hewn by evolution, that make us alive. In making this point, he reveals a hidden harmony between science and life as we live it.
The traditionally accepted understanding of adaptive properties (e.g., the abilities to obtain food, avoid predators, procreate) has been that these are actions of living things or traits that they express. Rothman makes the provocative assertion that this foundational element of the modern materialist perspective is entirely backwards. Our adaptive properties do not exist because we are alive, but rather we are alive because they exist. The implications of this assertion turn the theory of evolution by natural selection on its head by revealing that life transcends its material nature.
Students and scholars of the biological sciences as well as those interested in the philosophy of science will find this work both fascinating and challenging, perhaps even controversial. For centuries, the field of biology has focused on the seemingly mundane task of identifying and cataloging life's chemical substances, while ignoring its grand question: "What is it that makes us alive?" With Life beyond Molecules and Genes, perhaps the field will move a bit closer toward an answer.
Trundling along in essentially the same form for some 220 million years, turtles have seen dinosaurs come and go, mammals emerge, and humankind expand its dominion. Is it any wonder the persistent reptile bested the hare? In this engaging book physiologist Donald Jackson shares a lifetime of observation of this curious creature, allowing us a look under the shell of an animal at once so familiar and so strange.
Here we discover how the turtle’s proverbial slowness helps it survive a long, cold winter under ice. How the shell not only serves as a protective home but also influences such essential functions as buoyancy control, breathing, and surviving remarkably long periods without oxygen, and how many other physiological features help define this unique animal. Jackson offers insight into what exactly it’s like to live inside a shell—to carry the heavy carapace on land and in water, to breathe without an expandable ribcage, to have sex with all that body armor intervening.
Along the way we also learn something about the process of scientific discovery—how the answer to one question leads to new questions, how a chance observation can change the direction of study, and above all how new research always builds on the previous work of others. A clear and informative exposition of physiological concepts using the turtle as a model organism, the book is as interesting for what it tells us about scientific investigation as it is for its deep and detailed understanding of how the enduring turtle “works.”
The Life of a Leaf
Steven Vogel University of Chicago Press, 2012 Library of Congress QK649.V644 2012 | Dewey Decimal 575.57
In its essence, science is a way of looking at and thinking about the world. In The Life of a Leaf, Steven Vogel illuminates this approach, using the humble leaf as a model. Whether plant or person, every organism must contend with its immediate physical environment, a world that both limits what organisms can do and offers innumerable opportunities for evolving fascinating ways of challenging those limits. Here, Vogel explains these interactions, examining through the example of the leaf the extraordinary designs that enable life to adapt to its physical world.
In Vogel’s account, the leaf serves as a biological everyman, an ordinary and ubiquitous living thing that nonetheless speaks volumes about our environment as well as its own. Thus in exploring the leaf’s world, Vogel simultaneously explores our own.
Males account for roughly 50 percent of the global population, but in America and other places, they account for over 85 percent of violent crime. A graph of relative risk of death in human males shows that mortality is high immediately following birth, falls during childhood, then exhibits a distinct rise between the ages of 15 and 35—primarily the result of accidents, violence, and risky behaviors. Why? What compels males to drive fast, act violently, and behave stupidly? Why are men's lives so different from those of women?
Men presents a new approach to understanding the human male by drawing upon life history and evolutionary theory. Because life history theory focuses on the timing of, and energetic investment in, particular aspects of physiology, such as growth and reproduction, Richard Bribiescas and his fellow anthropologists are now using it in the study of humans. This has led to an increased understanding of human female physiology—especially growth and reproduction—from an evolutionary and life history perspective. However, little attention has been directed toward these characteristics in males. Men provides a new understanding of human male physiology and applies it to contemporary health issues such as prostate cancer, testosterone replacement therapy, and the development of a male contraceptive.
Men proves that understanding human physiology requires global research in traditionally overlooked areas and that evolutionary and life history theory have much to offer toward this endeavor.
Our Intelligent Bodies
Gary F. Merrill Rutgers University Press, 2020 Library of Congress QP34.5.M486 2020 | Dewey Decimal 612
Human intelligence isn’t just located in the brain. Our bodies are marvelously sophisticated and complex, with a variety of autonomic systems that help maintain our health without us ever having to think about them. But how exactly do all these physiological structures actually work?
In Our Intelligent Bodies, physiology professor Gary F. Merrill takes you on a guided tour through the human body. You’ll learn how our eyes are designed to detect unimaginably small bursts of light and how our ears contain bundles of tiny hairs, each one attuned to different sound frequencies. You’ll also discover how our hearts are smart enough to compensate for skipped beats and irregular rhythms and how our pulmonary system adjusts for low oxygen levels. You’ll even find out why the gut is sometimes called the “second brain,” its reflexes controlled by millions of neurons.
Written in a fun, easy-to-comprehend style and filled with illuminating analogies, Our Intelligent Bodies also brings readers up to date on cutting-edge research into the wonders of human physiology. It will give you a new appreciation for the smart decisions our bodies are making when our brains aren’t paying attention.
Our Marvelous Bodies offers a unique perspective on the structure, function, and care of the major systems of the human body. Unlike other texts that use a strictly scientific approach, physiologist Gary F. Merrill relays medical facts alongside personal stories that help students relate to and apply the information.
Readers learn the basics of feedback control systems, homeostasis, and physiological gradients. These principles apply to an understanding of the body’s functioning under optimal, healthy conditions, and they provide insight into states of acute and chronic illness. Separate chapters are devoted to each of the body’s systems in detail: nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, reproductive, and immune. Through a series of real-life examples, the book also shows the importance of maintaining careful medical records for health care professionals, scientists, and patients alike.
This landmark collection of short works forms a vivid documentary of life in midnineteenth-century St. Petersburg. Editor Nikolai Nekrasov was the most influential literary entrepreneur of the day, and he assembled works ranging from ethnography to fiction to literary criticism, all written by leading authors and thinkers of the time. The book he edited represents many important strands in Russian culture and history, including the development of Russian prose and the rise of the intelligentsia. A vital political document as well, Petersburg is a record of—and served as a spur to—the changes in Russian society that culminated in the 1917 revolution. This first-ever English edition brings its storied and studied illumination to a new audience, providing a key to understanding the place that St. Petersburg holds in Russia’s identity.
The Physiology and Pathology of the Cerebellum was first published in 1958. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The development of electrical methods of recording activity in the nervous system has greatly augmented our knowledge of cerebellar physiology. Now, for the first time in a single volume, this new information has been related to facts derived from older methods of investigation. Previously unpublished reports of experiments conducted at the Institute of Physiology, University of Pisa, Italy, also are included.
The authors, an American clinical neurologist and an Italian neuro-physiologist, have collaborated to provide a comprehensive review of cerebellar physiology and a survey of the clinical symptomatology of cerebellar disorders and the pathology of the cerebellum.
In Part I, devoted to the physiology, the authors review the literature completely and place it in proper relation to the latest developments in this field. There are chapters on this history of cerebellar physiology, ablation experiments, stimulation experiments, electro-physiological experiments, the relations between the cerebellum and other central nervous structures, developmental physiology, and the functions of the cerebellum, considered generally.
Part II is devoted to the human cerebellum as studied in the clinic. Where anatomical and physiological observation may shed light upon obscure clinical findings, the laboratory data are related to the clinical investigations. The disorders and diseases affecting the cerebellum are systemically reviewed. The book is illustrated with 61 halftones and 124 line drawings.
The American boardinghouse once provided basic domestic shelter and constituted a uniquely modern world view for the first true generation of U.S. city-dwellers. Thomas Butler Gunn's classic 1857 account of urban habitation, The Physiology of New York Boarding-Houses, explores the process by which boardinghouse life was translated into a lively urban vernacular. Intimate in its confessional tone, comprehensive in its detail, disarmingly penetrating despite (or perhaps because of) its self-deprecating wit, Physiology is at once an essential introduction to a "lost" world of boarding, even as it comprises an early, engaging, and sophisticated analysis of America's "urban turn" during the decades leading up to the Civil War.
In his introduction, David Faflik considers what made Gunn's book a compelling read in the past and how today it can elucidate our understanding of the formation and evolution of urban American life and letters.
"In this wide-ranging book, one of the boldest thinkers in modern neuroscience confronts an ancient philosophical problem: can we know the world as it really is?
Drawing on provocative new findings about the psychophysiology of perception and judgment in both human and nonhuman primates, and also on the cultural history of science, Jean-Pierre Changeux makes a powerful case for the reality of scientific progress and argues that it forms the basis for a coherent and universal theory of human rights. On this view, belief in objective knowledge is not a mere ideological slogan or a naïve confusion; it is a characteristic feature of human cognition throughout evolution, and the scientific method its most sophisticated embodiment. Seeking to reconcile science and humanism, Changeux holds that the capacity to recognize truths that are independent of subjective personal experience constitutes the foundation of a human civil society."
For a range of historical and contemporary issues in eugenics, human evolution, and procreative technology, Ruth Hubbard explains why scientific descriptions and choices should not generalize human, or female, attributes without acknowledging the realities of people's lives. Sophisticated in its analysis, yet not at all technical in its exposition, this book will find a wide readership among feminists, the general public, and the scientific community.
This text, the Questions concerning Aristotle's On Animals [Quaestiones super de animalibus], recovered only at the beginning of the twentieth century and never before translated in its entirety, represents Conrad of Austria's report on a series of disputed questions that Albert the Great addressed in Cologne ca. 1258.
Humans have always been fascinated by the workings of the mind and now, more than ever, neuroscience has become a popular area of inquiry. While neuroscience advertises itself as an interdisciplinary field, drawing on biology, physics, engineering, and psychology, to date it has engaged less often with the humanities. In this transdisciplinary work, Jordynn Jack aims to show how the humanities—and in particular, rhetoric—have much to add to the neurosciences, offering rich insights into the ways in which the brain is enmeshed in the body, in culture, and in discourse.
Jack first looks at the problem of “neurohype”—exaggerated or oversimplified claims that essentialize brains and make them “uncritically real”—questioning some of the fundamental assumptions about the brain that experimental protocols and psychological concepts rely on. Then, through examples of research on sex and gender, political orientation, and affect, Jack demonstrates how a rhetorical-material approach can help to generate alternative approaches to studying the brain that might mitigate the problem of neurohype. By raveling out the roots of neurohype and raveling back its use through time, Raveling the Brain shows how rhetoric and neuroscience might be raveled together, or intertwined, to create a stronger transdisciplinary approach that might enrich our understanding of those issues of interest to neuroscientists and humanists alike.
The Retina (1987) quickly became the most widely recognized introduction to the structure and function of retinal cells. In this easy-to-read Revised Edition, John Dowling draws on twenty-five years of new research to produce an interdisciplinary synthesis focused on how retinal function contributes to our understanding of brain mechanisms.
Nineteenth-century America saw numerous campaigns against masturbation, which was said to cause illness, insanity, and even death. Riotous Flesh explores women’s leadership of those movements, with a specific focus on their rhetorical, social, and political effects, showing how a desire to transform the politics of sex created unexpected alliances between groups that otherwise had very different goals.
As April R. Haynes shows, the crusade against female masturbation was rooted in a generally shared agreement on some major points: that girls and women were as susceptible to masturbation as boys and men; that “self-abuse” was rooted in a lack of sexual information; and that sex education could empower women and girls to master their own bodies. Yet the groups who made this education their goal ranged widely, from “ultra” utopians and nascent feminists to black abolitionists. Riotous Flesh explains how and why diverse women came together to popularize, then institutionalize, the condemnation of masturbation, well before the advent of sexology or the professionalization of medicine.
The Science of Walking recounts the story of the growing interest and investment of Western scholars, physicians, and writers in the scientific study of an activity that seems utterly trivial in its everyday performance yet essential to our human nature: walking. Most people see walking as a natural and unremarkable activity of daily life, yet the mechanism has long puzzled scientists and doctors, who considered it an elusive, recalcitrant, and even mysterious act. In The Science of Walking, Andreas Mayer provides a history of investigations of the human gait that emerged at the intersection of a variety of disciplines, including physiology, neurology, orthopedic surgery, anthropology, and psychiatry.
Looking back at more than a century of locomotion research, Mayer charts, for the first time, the rise of scientific endeavors to control and codify locomotion and analyzes their social, political, and aesthetic ramifications throughout the long nineteenth century. In an engaging narrative that weaves together science and history, Mayer sets the work of the most important representatives of the physiology of locomotion—including Wilhelm and Eduard Weber and Étienne-Jules Marey—in their proper medical, political, and artistic contexts. In tracing the effects of locomotion studies across other cultural domains, Mayer reframes the history of the science of walking and gives us a deeper understanding of human movement.
In 1968, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) implemented sex testing for female athletes at that year's Games. When it became clear that testing regimes failed to delineate a sex divide, the IOC began to test for gender--a shift that allowed the organization to control the very idea of womanhood.
Ranging from Cold War tensions to gender anxiety to controversies around doping, Lindsay Parks Pieper explores sex testing in sport from the 1930s to the early 2000s. Pieper examines how the IOC in particular insisted on a misguided binary notion of gender that privileged Western norms. Testing evolved into a tool to identify--and eliminate--athletes the IOC deemed too strong, too fast, or too successful. Pieper shows how this system punished gifted women while hindering the development of women's athletics for decades. She also reveals how the flawed notions behind testing--ideas often sexist, racist, or ridiculous--degraded the very idea of female athleticism.
For half a century, Sleep and Wakefulness has been a valuable reference work. It discusses phases of the sleep cycle, experimental work on sleep and wakefulness, sleep disorders and their treatment, and such sleep-like states as hypnosis and hibernation.
A pioneering exploration of olfaction that upsets settled notions of how the brain translates sensory information.
Decades of cognition research have shown that external stimuli “spark” neural patterns in particular regions of the brain. This has fostered a view of the brain as a space that we can map: here the brain responds to faces, there it perceives a sensation in your left hand. But it turns out that the sense of smell—only recently attracting broader attention in neuroscience—doesn’t work this way. A. S. Barwich asks a deceptively simple question: What does the nose tell the brain, and how does the brain understand it?
Barwich interviews experts in neuroscience, psychology, chemistry, and perfumery in an effort to understand the biological mechanics and myriad meanings of odors. She argues that it is time to stop recycling ideas based on the paradigm of vision for the olfactory system. Scents are often fickle and boundless in comparison with visual images, and they do not line up with well-defined neural regions. Although olfaction remains a puzzle, Barwich proposes that what we know suggests the brain acts not only like a map but also as a measuring device, one that senses and processes simple and complex odors.
Accounting for the sense of smell upsets theories of perception philosophers have developed. In their place, Smellosophy articulates a new model for understanding how the brain represents sensory information.
The 1966 edition of the leading medical textbook states that pregnant women can safely smoke half a pack of cigarettes a day. Yet today, women who smoke during pregnancy are among the most vilified figures in public health campaigns. Laury Oaks argues this shift is not due solely to medical findings indicating that cigarette smoking may harm the fetus. Also responsible are a variety of social factors that converged more than a decade ago to construct the demonized category of the “pregnant smoker.”
This book charts the emergence of smoking during pregnancy as a public health concern and social problem. Oaks looks at the emphasis public health educators place on individual responsibility, the current legal and social assertion of fetal personhood, the changing expectations of pregnant and prepregnant women, and the advent of antismoking campaigns. She explores how public health educators discuss “the problem” with one another, how they communicate with pregnant smokers, and how these women themselves understand the “risk” of fetal harm. Finally, Oaks discusses the various meanings of “objective” statistics on the effects of smoking on the fetus, exploring the significance of cultural context in assessing the relative importance of those numbers. She argues that rather than bombarding pregnant women with statistics, health educators should consider the daily lives of these women and their socioeconomic status to understand why some women choose to smoke during pregnancy. Without downplaying the seriousness of the health risks that smoking poses to women and their babies, the book supports new efforts that challenge the moral policing of pregnant smokers.