Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Scholarship / Bibliography /
@ K. 2001 06 18

Bibliography, a list of books. I intend this bibliography to supplement the well known well publicized lists already common. You don’t need to spend six figures at Harvard, borrow some good reading lists, then read. Shakespeare, the Bible, Homer … They’re already on everybody’s list, they don’t need to be repeated here. No this is for neglected authors, new authors … under-appreciated sciences … sabotaged sources …

My list is more casual than complete. Expect it to be well begun by the time global warming is solved, or cancer.
Complements Reading Notes.

I start with my stars, in order of current importance to my thinking.

Prigogine, Ilya, The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos, and the New Laws of Nature, NY, 1996

Bateson, Gregory, Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity, NY, 1979

Frazer, Sir James, The Golden Bough

Korzybski, Alfred, Science and Sanity, Lancaster PA, 1933

Diamond, Jared, The Third Chimpanzee, NY, 1992

Illich, Ivan, Deschooling Society, NY, 1971

Fuller, R. Buckminster, Operation Manual for Spaceship Earth

Of those great teachers Fuller and Illich are the only ones I knew personally. Fuller is the only one I felt mutually intimate with.

Also on a high tier for me are:

Ogden, C. K. & I. A. Richards, The Meaning of Meaning, NY, 1923

I’m currently bowled over by Michael J. Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution,
NY, 1996.

Wilson, Robert Anton, Quantum Psychology, Tempe AZ, 1990: I see as the best epistemological primer since Bateson’s Mind and Nature: the more so if used in conjunction with his Prometheus Rising, Phoenix AZ, 1986. Apropos, note

Then, just naming names: Desmond Morris, Arthur C. Clarke, the Leakeys …

The next section is notes, not complete, on particular books: alphabetically by author.

Bateson, Gregory, Angels Fear, NY, 1987

Bateson, Gregory, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, NY, 1972

Bateson, Gregory & Jurgen Ruesch, MD, Communication: The Social Matrix of Psychiatry, NY, 1968

Bronowsky, Jacob, The Ascent of Man, Boston, 1973

Diamond, Jared, Guns, Germs, & Steel, NY, 1998

Diamond, Jared, Why Is Sex Fun?, NY, 1997

Diamond, Jared, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed [NY, 2005]

DiLorenzo, Thomas, Organized Crime, 2012

Dubos, Rene, A Celebration of Life

Eco, Umberto, Kant and the Platypus, NY, 1997

Eco, Umberto, Travels in Hyperreality

Ferris, Timothy (editor), The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics, 1991

Feynman, Richard, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman

Gamow, George, 1, 2, 3 … Infinity

Gell-Mann, Murray, The Quark and the Jaguar, NY, 1994

Gleick, James, Chaos, NY, 1987

Greene, Brian, The Elegant Universe, NY, 1999

Haken, Hermann: Synergetics, Stuttgart, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., NY, 1981

Hawking, Stephen, A Brief History of Time

Hawking, Stephen, Black Holes and Baby Universes and other essays, London, 1993

Hofstadter, Douglas R., Godel, Escher, Bach, 1979

Hoyle, Sir Fred, The Intelligent Universe

Illich, Ivan, Medical Nemesis

Johanson, Donald, Lucy

Kaku, Michio, Hyperspace

Lovejoy, Arthur O., Essays in the History of Ideas

Lovejoy, Arthur O., The Great Chain of Being

McHarg, Ian, Design with Nature

Morris, Desmond, The Human Zoo

Morris, Desmond, The Naked Ape, Great Britain, 1967

Rucker, Rudy, Mind Tools, Boston, 1987

Toffler, Alvin, The Third Wave, NY, 1980

Quinnett, Paul, Pavlov’s Trout

Quinnett, Paul, Darwin’s Bass

Resnick, Mitchell, Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams: Explorations in Massively Parallel Microworlds, MIT, 1997

Shlain, Leonard, Sex Time, and Power: How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution

Waldrop, M. Mitchell, Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos, NY, 1992

Other books I have simply not yet confirmed titles and publishing particulars via my and other libraries. Some of the names that have to be included are:

Asimov, Isaac

Attenborough, Sir David

Bear, Greg

Burke, James

Calder, Nigel

Clarke, Arthur C

Dickens, Charles

Eisley, Loren

Ferris, Timothy

Gould, Stephen J

Leakey (Louis … Mary … Richard)

Pagels, Heinz

Pask, Gordon

Pierce, John R., An Introduction to Information Theory

Sagan, Carl

Shannon, Claude

Weiner, Norbert

von Foerster, Heinz

Poulos, John Allen, A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper

Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation, 1984

Occasionally a book about a thinker will be a worthy supplement to the thinker’s own output:

Kenner, Hugh, Bucky: A Guided Tour of Buckminster Fuller, NY, 1973

Wood, Denis, Five Billion Years of Global Change: A History of the Land [NY 2004] has a bibliography replete with science writers I don’t know. I’ll correct that ASAP (and add his list here, trusting his judgment, ever before I’ve caught up).

So much of what any of us knows comes not from primary sources but from thinkers citing other thinkers (or repeating without giving credit). I know Geoffrey Miller’s explanation for speech from The Mating Mind only through Leonard Shlain’s summary. Johanson gave Owen Lovejoy (physiology) his own chapter in Lucy: unusual. I mention this as a tribute to all the cited authors who don’t get read because they’ve been so often cited. (Have you actually read Darwin? Freud? Einstein?) (I have: a little. Far more Freud than Darwin, and precious little Einstein.)

Guys I’ve read some, but not nearly enough of, include Humberto Maturana. And Francisco Varela. (I’ll add more such soon.) (And try to read them soon.)

Harold J. Berman, Law and Revolution [Cambridge MA, 1982] I’m just starting, but just a few pages tell me that it’s a book I’ll be reading at for some time to come.

2006 07 20

Gregory Bateson gets special mention all over and more than a couple of modules dedicated mostly if not entirely to his thinking. This week I’ve started another kind of dedicated module: stored here in this / Scholarship / Bibliography section. The first such gathers reading notes from two classics by Arthur O. Lovejoy. [Lovejoy file extension coming] I’ll try to gather links to other K. modules where the work of one scholar, or artist, concentrates. had its own biblography: I’ll find it and merge it here, de-duping.

I want to tell a story about the relation between reading and thinking which, while personal, I’ll bet is typical.

Age eighteen or nineteen I read a little Nietzsche. I can’t say I read a whole book at that time, even a whole chapter. I’d read a line, an aphorism, a paragraph, and then go about babbling for months. Decades latter I pick up one of those same paperbacks. First: I was humiliated by the sophomoric belligerence of much of my marginalia. But I was also bewildered by how extensive my notes were. Perhaps I had read more than I was aware of at the time or since. But finally: most importantly: I found things underlined that I had no memory of reading. And here’s the kicker: some of them were (or were damn close to) things I’d long claimed as my original thinking! We can “know” where our ideas come from to some extend. But we should also be extremely cautious, not to mention humble, regarding what we claim as “ours.” How many of us really remember all that was said to us before we were six?

Heaven forefend anyone mistake what I’m saying for an argument against “originality.” Certainly new ideas appear: and we should be able to trace every idea. I don’t believe there can be any serious question that there’s a net gain in the totality of ideas as the population grows. I believe the population is getting stupider and stupider, but not yet to the point where information with stabilize: or decline: perhaps irrecoverably.

I add a counter view. In my writing, I’ve always been proud of my originality: no where more so than with my story First Week. In the decades since writing it I’ve found a number of parallel stories: the bulk written since publishers declined to publish my story. In no case (in this particular instance) did I think: Ah, plagiarism! No, others just inevitably arrived at something like the same perspective. But I’ve also found startling parallels with fiction that preceded mine.

I flesh a device. Twenty years later I find Stephen King writing almost the same paragraph. But who’s to say I hadn’t read something at the time of writing: and forgotten it?

With FLEX I offered the world a cheap method by which public data could be stored for the public. By the simplest of extensions, all writing could be published. Without a complete record of everything uttered going back to the beginning of sentience utterance together with a reliable scanning and grading method, who’s ever to say what is and what isn’t original?

Shakespeare In Love imagines Will Shakespeare overhearing the line “a plague on both your houses” before penning it for Romeo and Juliet. It’s not factual, but it’s possible. Will should get royalties for an awful lot. Wouldn’t it be nice to know how many of those royalties he should share?


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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