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1. The Ascent of Man
2. The Identity of Man (Great Minds
3. Science and Human Values
4. The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination
5. The Ascent of Man
6. The Ascent of Man By Jacob Bonowski
7. Magic Science and Civilization
8. The Common Sense of Science
9. The Poets Defence
10. Biography of an atom
11. William Blake, 1757-1827;: A man
12. The Ascent of Man By Baronski
13. Western Intellectual Tradition:
14. Insight
15. William Blake and the Age of Revolution
16. Philosophe Juif: Hannah Arendt,
17. William Blake and the age of revolution
18. Biography - Bronowski, Jacob (1908-1974):
19. The Happy Passion: A Personal
20. Academics of the University of

1. The Ascent of Man
by Jacob Bronowski
Paperback: Pages (1976-08)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$55.99
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Asin: 0316109339
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Lauded by critics and devoured by countless readers as a companion to the acclaimed PBS series, this work traces the development of science as an expression of the special gifts that characterize man and make him preeminent among animals. Bronowski's exciting, splendidly illustrated investigation offers a new perspective not just on science, but on civilization itself. Photographs. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (39)

5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Book of All Time
I quite literally mean what I say in my title."The Ascent of Man" has certainly been the most influential book (and television series) of my life.I could even say that that when I first saw the series (over thirty years ago) it restimulated in a interest in the sciences that I had as a child but nearly lost during my adolescent.

I am not sure which is the most captivating of Bronowski's tome, wither it is the breath and scope of subjects he covers or the marvelous, almost poetic at times, style of his writing.He is someone I would so much have liked to meet (alas, he dies in 1874, a year after his series was first presented).It also contains my most favorite scientific essay of all time:chapter 10,"Knowledge or Certainty."His ability to weave different themes, scientific, historical, and philosophical, have always filled me with envy that I could write that way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and Cautionary
This is a series of essays on the scientific advances human beings have made up until the early 1970s when it was written. Great for a review on science and history since I've been out of school for awhile, and filled with thoughtful insights on human nature and technology. It's refreshing that the author did not despise humanity or decry technological progress as so many people do today, although he did rightly caution us about the correct use of science and the danger of being sure of ourselves. Bronowski also drew parallels between artistic and scientific achievements of the time periods covered in the book in a way that was fresh to me and insightful. The book is superbly illustrated with scientific illustrations, photos and fine art. It's possible that if I had read this book while still in school I might have been more interested in science than I was. I was a Fine Art major and science already influenced my art somewhat, if I had read this book then I think I would have been inspired to go farther in that direction. There was a time when Art and Science were not as compartmentalized as they are now. It's nice to be reminded of that! It's also nice to be reminded of the heights that humans are capable of achieving. This book might restore some of your optimism at a time when our culture is well into it's decadent phase.

5-0 out of 5 stars Required Reading
This is an exciting, enthusiastic view of the world.He also covers some very dangerous and important responsibilities that come with our great knowledge.

This book is not just a "classic" but should be required reading for anyone that lives on the planet earth.It is a near-sin that it does not seem to be currently in print?Although widely available from resellers.Get this, along with the documentary of the same name now.Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Of course you've already watched Carl Sagan's Cosmos right? Next stop is The Ascent Of Man.

5-0 out of 5 stars A remarkable time in history
Nowadays many different books have been written to explain the unfolding of humans and civilization. This book covers many great products and inventors instead of all the great wars.In the 1970's this was unique to the public. In addition, this book is the template for those to follow.
The contents include:
1 Lower than the Angles (evolution of the head)
2 The Harvest of the Seasons (the pace of cultural evolution)
3 The Grain in the Stone (blood group evidence of migration)
4 The Hidden Structure (fire)
5 The Music of the Spheres (the language of numbers)
6 The Starry Messenger (the cycle of seasons)
7 The majestic Clockwork (Kepler's laws)
8 The Drive for Power (Everyday technology)
9 The ladder of Creation (are other formulas of life possible?)
10 World Within World (the periodic table)
11 Knowledge of Certainty (There is no absolute knowledge)
12 Generation upon generation (cloning of identical forms)
13 The Long Childhood (The commitment of man)

I have the original hardback book, reference book, and study guide. The local library still has the original videotapes. You have to be an institution to purchase them.

DVD is now available in region 1. It is a tad more pricy.
This DVD set that matches or rivals the book.

This is a humanities course at the local collage. A plus was actually getting to go through the Watts Towers as a kid. This work does rings around "Connections" by James Burke because it is the story of the people behind the connections.

I am not saying that this book replaces others, but that it has more to say without resorting to today's sound byte system of writing.

The Ascent of Man (5 volume set)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Haunting Interview
I will not add more praise, but only mention that this interview contains a statement by Bronowski about being proud of having lived in the 20th century, and regretting that he would likely not make it into the next - in fact, he did not make it even into the next year - he died in New York of a heart attack later in 1974. This interview may well be his last, certainly one of the last. The making of "The Ascent of Man" must have weakened him greatly, and one often feels the trip to Auschwitz must have been some great shock to his spirit, a calling into question of his fundamental optimism. Certainly the voice one hears in this interview is not the strong, humor-filled one so often heard in the series.

In any case, if you enjoyed "The Ascent of Man" in book or film, you will also enjoy this meeting of two urbane men.

-drl ... Read more

2. The Identity of Man (Great Minds Series)
by Jacob Bronowski
Paperback: 120 Pages (2002-10)
list price: US$15.98 -- used & new: US$9.23
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Asin: 1591020255
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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With infectious enthusiasm and a gift for conveying theexcitement of ideas, Jacob Bronowski (1908-1974) discusses the impactof science on our sense of self and the need to reevaluate ethics inlight of the scientific perspective.As both a practicing scientistand an author of books on poetry, he makes interesting connectionsbetween the uses of the imagination in science and in literature.Whereas science creates experiments to test hypotheses about theoutside world, he notes that literature also provides "experiments" inpoetry and prose, allowing readers to experience what it means to befully human and relating the individual's inner life to that of everyhuman being.Bronowski argues that a true humanistic philosophy mustgive equal place to the inner, subjective vision of the arts and theouter, objective perception of science since they are both products ofone self-conscious creative imagination.In the final analysis, heemphasizes that these perspectives converge to reveal a moreenlightened, universal ethics, one that fosters tolerance, mutualunderstanding, an appreciation of differences, and a sense that we allshare a common destiny as human participants in nature's cosmic drama. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bronowski at his best
Once again J. Bronowski has written an insightful book concerning the major
problem of our time: how to integrate the findings of modern science to the humanist problem of values. ... Read more

3. Science and Human Values
by Jacob Bronowski
Paperback: 94 Pages (2009-09-15)
list price: US$16.50 -- used & new: US$14.51
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Asin: 0571241905
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Bronowski once wrote: 'It is often said that science has destroyed our values and put nothing in its place. What has really happened of course is that science has shown in harsh relief the division between our values and our world.' He believed profoundly that science can create the values we lack by looking into the human personality, exploring what makes humans unique and their societies human rather than animal packs.Science and Human Values is a continuation of Bronowski's quest to make science part of our world and to hold that world to the rational and ethical values of the liberated human spirit. Few works on the meaning of science open more dramatically. Bronowski describes how he arrived in Nagasaki in the autumn of 1945, and saw what looked like broken rocks 'the ruins of industrial buildings' and 'otherwise nothing but cockeyed telegraph poles and loops of wire in a bare waste of ashes'. Never before, he writes, was he so aware of the power of science for good and for evil. In Nagasaki civilization came face to face with its own implications.We must not hive science off to a separate zone that we despise and fear: modern societies must make informed decisions about what science does, and insist that all the work a civilization does should respect what Bronowski calls 'the sense of human dignity'. Science has humanized our values, and its values of freedom, justice and respect are not yet accepted in the conduct of states and individuals. The ends for which we work must be judged by the means we use to achieve them. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

2-0 out of 5 stars de gustibus non disputandum
Before reading, I assumed J. Bronowski's Science and Human Values would be a work dealing with the opposition or harmony of scientific-technological progress and our social values.Instead, it examines science as a specific case of human activity and the definition of human values in general and specifically with regard to science.

Bronokowski begins by dispelling the "schoolboy" notion that science is a collection of "facts".It is instead a creative activity like art and philosophy in which concepts rule.Concepts are open to interpretation and development, and this is what happens in science.

The second essay in the book puts forward the position that all human values are like scientific values and subject to change and development.This is not only a theoretical possibility but an historical reality, as evidenced by the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and other political developments.

In the third essay, a theory of social values based on science is developed."Value" is defined as a concept that both joins men in a society and lets them retain some individuality.In the scientific community values such as truthfulness and scholarship are what allow the scientific community to exist.Bronowski seems to say, then, that if we want a society that integrates science it must be a society that upholds scientific values, and science must support certain values in society in order to thrive.

That science should be the basis of society is not so much stated outright as assumed or implied.This is a work of pragmatism.Too bad Bronowski didn't realize that he assumes science is a collegial society.In fact, the scientific community today is predominated by concerns such as tenure, profit and grant security.It is extremely hierarchical, with the drawing together aspects of values much more prevalent than the individuating ones.

The last part of the book is a dialogue (a la Plato) on the same theme.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great buy
It is easy today to get depressed about mankind.Bronowski demonstrates that there is hope for us yet.He also demonstrates that we, perhaps know more and are capable of more than we thought.

5-0 out of 5 stars A profound meditation on the human condition
This is a small but profound work. The three chapters" 'The Creative Mind'
'The Habit of Truth' ' The Sense of Human Dignity' taken together constitute an argument against modern positivistic philosophy and logical analysis regarding the absolute separation of 'is' from 'ought'. As Bronowski understands it the sense of values pervades and in a sense brings together the major realms of creative life. The special values of Science itself are for Bronowski 'independence and originality, dissent and freedom and tolerance; such are the first needs of science; and these are the values, which , of itself, it demands and forms."
Yet Bronowski also strongly emphasizes the evidence- based nature of Science in its search for Truth. And he speaks of the process of its development ," the view that our concepts are built up from experience, and have constantly to be tested and corrected in experience." Here is the great distinguishing feature of Science not only its quest for truth but in its power to transform the world.
What Bronowski does in another sense is cut across the 'Two Cultures' divide posited by C.P. Snow. A person of both literary and scientific background himself he finds that ' the exploration of likenesses' through symbolic concepts define creativity both in literary and in scientific realms.
Bronowski is in a very deep sense a humanist who defines and dignity of mankind in its search to understand and transform the world.
There is much to be thought and said about this very important book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Habit of Truth Leads to God
This was required reading for me in a required Social Sciences survey course required for my B.Sc. in chemistry over forty years ago (I hold an earned Ph.D. in chemistry in additon to a later acquired law degree).I still regard it as one of the most influential books in my life.I understand the essays in this small book to be a critical examination of various scientific philosophies.However what I found to be most illuminating was Bronowski's study of values in a scientist's search for truth; how the values necessary to enable the search for scientific truth in the cooperative enterprise of science are human values ratified by the great religions of the world.What this meant to me as a callow (at that time) intellectual who was more of an agnostic than an atheist at that point in my life was that many of the value systems espoused and shared by the great religions were independently derivable by the values necessary to succeed in the quest for "truth."This resonanted with me personally more than any thundering proselytizer in a church pulpit and my faith began to grow.This is a small book to have such a large effect and it is worth reading for many reasons - some well elaborated by other reviewers.I think Dr. Bronowski would be pleased with its effect on me.

4-0 out of 5 stars Science and Human Values - a call to Holism
While Bronowski's book, Science and Human Values is often lauded as a critique of logical positivism, I found it to be much more than just that.Bronowski launches a critique on a more pervasive foundation of western philosophy, that of dualism. Bronowski seeks to reduce the dualistic view that somehow science and technology are antithetical to the human spirit. The book is constructed as an extended essay consisting of three distinct, though closely related arguments:

a) The Creative Mind - an argument that the human mind operates creatively whether engaged in logical constructivist activities or in more subjective expressions of thought.In short, Bronowski argues here that the Poet and the Physicist have much more in common than we allow ourselves to believe.

b)The Habit of Truth - an argument that both the right (creative) and left (analytic) sides of the brain are doing the same thing, seeking truth, in the generative process.

c)The Sense of Human Dignity - an argument that the objective exploration of science and technology are just as "human" as the quest for introspective or subjective understanding of the human condition.

Epilogue)The volume also contains an interesting fictional dialogue titled The Abacus and the Rose, held between a public servant, a scientist and a literary figure regarding the nature of their thought processes.

Bronowski emphasizes the notion that the outcomes of science and technology are mere tools and artifacts, it is the spirit and creative energy behind them form the basis for human values and ideals.For Bronowski human values are what drive scientific discovery just as they drive public policy or artistic creativity.We get into trouble when we try and separate these ventures from human values, and thus confuse means and ends. In this way Bronowski offers a compelling argument that is less a critique of positivism than a call for a more holistic vision of human development and the creative spirit.

The essay is well written and easy to follow and provides some solid insight on the ever more difficult task of linking scientific andtechnological progress with human value systems.

"Whether our work is art or science or the daily work of society, it is only the form in which we explore our experience which is different; the need to explore remains the same." (Bronowski, 1965, p. 72) ... Read more

4. The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination (The Mrs. Hepsa Ely Silliman Memorial Lectures Series)
by Jacob Bronowski
 Paperback: 159 Pages (1979-09-10)
list price: US$18.50 -- used & new: US$10.65
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Asin: 0300024096
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars The origins of Knowledge and Imagination.
Jacob's Bronowski's Lecture series -published in a slim volume- is Bronowski at his best. He is succinct, logical and brilliantly clear. Highly recommended to everyone who has a 6th grade or higher education. Bronowski was also the writer and lecturer of the now classic DVD "Ascent of Man", also very highly recommended.
George Pick PH D
Arlington, VA

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful
fabulous writer. short book and easy to read. obviously a very smart, well-read and deep scientist. the book is thought-provoking especially for people with a philosophical bent who like to think about knowledge, nature and ideas. highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and enlightening
Exceptionally engaging volume on the role of science in our lives. Bronowski does a pretty good job of how we learn and manages to be entertaining at the same time; treating science as a sort of language. At points his language and usage are a bit "steep"---and given that Bronowski is a humanist (I am not.) I find some of his argument disagreeable. The short section toward the end where he deals with Godel and inconsistency is worth the 130+ pages. A good read and recommended if the topic holds any interest.

5-0 out of 5 stars Man of Vision, Man of Science and Art
I've probably read this volume of lectures a dozen times because of their clarity, their insight into the nature of science and scientific understanding. Bronowski is a genius. He taps into the history of science and how imagination works in the minds of Newton and Einstein. He bridges the worlds of art and science, and finds how imagination connects them both. If you write software code by day and read the poetry of Pound and Eliot by night, you'll know what Bronowski's vision is all about.

-Tom Maremaa, Author of the Forthcoming novel "Metal Heads" from Kunati Books in Spring 2009

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully erudite, clear and, for a 40-year-old book, modern
It isn't clear how Jacob Bronowski came to be delivering the Silliman lectures for 1967 at Yale University, but in doing so he delivered a marvellous and, apparently, criminally overlooked book which many of today's leading popular science writers might do well to read. Bronowski was by training an academic algebraic geometrist (I'm not sure that there is any other kind), but by inclination a polymath, working in a remarkably eclectic range of fields from operations research to biology to anthropology to poetry, and as he did so taking time to publish an acclaimed biography of William Blake and write and produce a well-received BBC anthropology series, The Ascent of Man.

The Silliman foundation at Yale is dedicated to "illustrating the presence and providence of God, as demonstrated in the natural and moral world", so it made an odd choice in selecting Bronowski, a non-religious scientist, to present its 1967 lectures, but the choice was an inspired one, for instead of banging on sanctimoniously about how only science and mathematics can bring us to a true understanding of the universe, Bronowski the polymath instead put these endeavours in their human, social and - literally - literal context.

Bronowski's view is that our sciences contantly evolve and that they are a function of our favoured modes of observation (primarily visual) and means of description (wholly linguistic - in the sense that we can only theorise what we can commit to some formal symbolic system or other). Not just pure mathematics but any science - or language, for that matter - is a closed symbolic system, and is subject to the formal limitations of such systems which have been explained by mathematicians (such as Goedel's undecidability), practical limitations, and epistemological limitations. Even ignoring the formal limitations, practically we never have anything like enough evidence to soundly make a "true" theory - that would involve all data in the universe. But curiously, even if we had this, the theory wouldn't tell us anything interesting anyway, since we'd be able to deduce all possible consequences as a matter of logic - the empirical theory wouldn't add anything, in the same way that repeatedly rolling dice won't tell you anything you couldn't work out anyway about probability theory). In a fascinating chapter entitled "knowledge as algorithm and as metaphor" Bronowski charts this inevitable trade-off between theoretical completeness and practical usefulness and makes the (quite unexpected, but undeniable) observation that the very very incompleteness of a theory is what gives it its power.

Curiously, Bronowski speaks in terms of thorough reductionism - he says "I believe that the world is totally connected: that is to say, that there are no events anywhere in the universe that are not tied to every other event in the universe" but in contrast to writers like Dawkins reaches a surprisingly pragmatist conclusion: since it is not just practically but *conceptually* impossible to gather all data in the universe (which is what you would need to truthfully explain any single one of these events) we should resign ourselves to an imperfect solution which we must always remember is contingent and subject to improvement or change. This argument, like Quine's as to the dogmas of empiricism, is arrived at from a purely traditional, analytic approach, and is relatively immune to charges of woolly postmodernism. But in every other way it resonates far more closely with anti-essentialists like Richard Rorty, Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend than it does with the latter day Dawkinses.

The final chapter strays off brief into political and moral matters, and suffers because of it: Bronowski makes an unconvincing attempt to rebut Hume's statement of the naturalistic fallacy that you can't convert an 'is' to an 'ought', and ends up saying (and immediately regretting) things like "once you know that there are two sexes, then certain behaviour becomes pointless". My guess is he wasn't talking about fishing. Leaving aside the quaint value-judgments this seems to imply, it also seems to have abandoned the idea, forcefully argued in the first five lectures, that these "truths" we know are contingent anyway and that behaviour which seems ridiculous from one perspective might have a perfectly sensible utility described from another: there's no priority of perspective, after all.

Nonetheless, these final comments aren't anything like enough to detract from the quality of this overall book, which I recommend warmly to all inquiring minds.

Olly Buxton ... Read more

5. The Ascent of Man
by Bronowski. Jacob
 Hardcover: Pages (1973-01-01)

Asin: B002E5RFRK
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6. The Ascent of Man By Jacob Bonowski
by Jacob Bronowski
 Paperback: Pages (1974)

Asin: B003BH8MWW
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7. Magic Science and Civilization
by Jacob Bronowski
 Paperback: 88 Pages (1981-02)
list price: US$24.50
Isbn: 0231044852
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8. The Common Sense of Science
by Jacob Bronowski
Paperback: 160 Pages (2008-05-29)
list price: US$19.03 -- used & new: US$78.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0571241891
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Jacob Bronowski was, with Kenneth Clarke, the greatest popularizer of serious ideas in Britain between the mid 1950s and the early 1970s. Trained as a mathematician, he was equally at home with painting and physics, and wrote a series of brilliant books that tried to break down the barriers between 'the two cultures'. He denounced 'the destructive modern prejudice that art and science are different and somehow incompatible interests'. He wrote a fine book on William Blake while running the National Coal Board's research establishment."The Common Sense of Science", first published in 1951, is a vivid attempt to explain in ordinary language how science is done and how scientists think. He isolates three creative ideas that have been central to science: the idea of order, the idea of causes and the idea of chance. For Bronowski, these were common-sense ideas that became immensely powerful and productive when applied to a vision of the world that broke with the medieval notion of a world of things ordered according to their ideal natures. Instead, Galileo, Huyghens and Newton and their contemporaries imagined 'a world of events running in a steady mechanism of before and after'.We are still living with the consequences of this search for order and causality within the facts that the world presents to us. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Common Sense is Illuminating
This is a second run through Bronowski's little masterpiece in less than a year. I was writing a paper and wrote a sentence, but I "knew" it was from something I'd read. Googled the sentence and, presto. There isn't much to add to the already excellent reviews; I can offer as a nonscientist conducting research in cognition, Bronowski's take on the convergence/union of logic and observation and the role of uncertainty in science made this book even more informative after a second look. His observations on cause and effect and truth and value are enlighening. The book is also very quotable, for example:

"All living is action, and human living is thoughtful action." (btw, this is the quote that brought me back to the book)

"There is indeed no system of morality which does not set a high value on truth and on knowledge, above all on a conscious knowledge of oneself."

"Let us not be contemptuous of mistakes; they are the fulcrum on which the process of life moves."

"Human life is social life, and there is no science which is not part of some social science."

I bought a used original hardback, and it was once part of a high school library. While the style and content are accessible to a high school student, I wonder how much interest the book would draw today.

A great resource and highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Science& common sense
Its quite amazing how a book, particularly one about science,has stood the test of time so well.Bronowski's book originally writen is 1951 is still a good read.Apart from its style and ever present "the scientist" theme as well as the shaddow of the atomic bomb there are few clues to the vintage of this book.
Bronowski was mathematicien /scientistwho was also at home in art and literature.His attempt to harmonise thesetwo worlds is very modern Asis theholistic aproch to all intellectual activity.
I get the feeling from boththis book and his other works that Jacob Bronowski was not an easy man.His very high intellegence and extensive knowledgemade him unwilling to suffer fools gladly.He was an elitst.But the values he tries to explain in this book are the values the world still aspires to.A rational scientific aproach based on both contemplation and empirisism.A love of all beauty both scientific or art.Above all the rejection of superstitionand ancienttraditions that have outlived their time.
Not everyone is able to aspire to Bronowski's values but this is surely the directionthat we must move

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic read in science...
This book is written more than half a century ago but still holds the basis of science. Starting from the history and leading through all the paradigm shifts, Jacob Bronowski has marvelously mentioned the future of science, the future paradigm.

I recommend this to everyone who is interested in a good science read. Old yet, interesting and a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Applied Heisenberg, or, Uncertainty 101
First of all, James McCall is right about one of the purposes of this book: to discuss how, in fact, nearly every action we take has a scientific basis in that we have learned from our previous experiences and, following any action we take, we will then evaluate the consequences and adjust our future actions accordingly, even if all this analysis is done unconsciously.

But this discussion is fully developed in only the last one-quarter to one-third of the book. In its entirety, The Common Sense of Science is looking at three critical steps in the development of science and scientific thinking: first, the union of logic and observation where the two had been separate and distinct activities; second, the rise of a new attitude about investigating the world: cause and effect; and, third and where we find ourselves today, the establishment of statistics and uncertainly as the criteria for developing new theories about how the world, and, indeed, the universe work.

A long time ago, a friend of mine who was a physics student explained uncertainty to me this way: if you know how fast something is going, you don't know where it is, and if you know where it is, you don't know how fast it's going. This is, of course, an oversimplification, but it serves to demonstrate a critical point of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle: that observations, by definition, are not static, that the observer is part of the phenomenon he or she observes.

In addressing these three issues (the union of logic and observation, cause and effect, and uncertainty), Bronowski has given us a broad and deeply thoughtful analysis of the three most critical steps in the history of science. Although the book was written in 1951, its discussion is as pertinent today as the day it was written. And that may be one of the problems that intimidate most non-scientists about science. Because, in fact, we are still getting used to the idea of science as something that is, by definition, uncertain and what Einstein would call, "a local phenomenon" in terms of both time and space. That is, the old safe and comforting certainty has gone out of science, the kind of certainty that says, yes, smoking causes lung cancer or no, apples never fall up, and gives the exact causes why these things should be so. In fact, we know that smoking does not always cause lung cancer (or at least not in the time frame we're working with here on Earth). It might eventually cause lung cancer in everyone who smoked if they lived long enough, but we don't know what "long enough" is and, in the meantime, we're stuck with the current lifespan. That's Einstein's "local phenomenon." Instead of certainty and cause-and-effect, we now have to make do with correlation and probability, and that is not nearly as comforting as certainty.

But the real core of The Common Sense of Science is the development of scientific thinking from the original point of reasoning without observation, to reasoning based on observation and the consequent development of cause-and-effect thinking, to the current reliance on statistics and uncertainty. While Bronowski spends the last two chapters dealing with the "truth and value" of scientific thinking and the degree to which, in our daily lives, we are all scientific thinkers, I think this portrait of the development of scientific thinking is the real core of the book, and its real value. It should be on everyone's Must Read list.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sense and Sensibility
...P>This book was written in 1951. "The Ascent of Man" was still 20 years in the future; the richly humanistic outlook of that celebrated series of programs is the same, but here Bronowskirestricts himself to examining science, and putting it in the context of other sorts of mental activities that people engage in.

Most of what people think about (or for that matter animals in a more rudimentary way) involves using their experiences to guide their actions, and then evaluating how well they did. "Learn from your mistakes" epitomizes much common sense. Science does the same sort of thing; what makes it difficult for people is the often technical language it is couched in, and the exactness of the conditions it specifies and predictions it calculates. Yet over time science tries to learn from its mistakes (in spite of the rearguard actions of many older scientists!) and revise its views of the world, just the way a sensible individual does. The only difference between the common sense of an individual and that of a scientist is this business of technical language and precise definition. In our ordinary lives we don't bother to define things very well, because we are talking to ourselves or a few others in our circumstances. Besides, we have only one life, and setting up controlled experiments is usually out of the question.

Still, people form theories of the world that they act upon in their personal affairs, and change those theories if they don't seem to work. In this way, Bronowski insists, we are all scientists. We may believe in angels and lucky numbers, but we know that boiling an egg or shooting a basketball well or getting a good seat in the movies requires the application of our intelligence to the world. (For that matter, we may believe in angels but find that it makes more sense to depend on ourselves.)

Bronowski wrote this book in 1951, in the shadow of WWII, the atomic bomb and the new and more terrible hydrogen bomb. Moreover, quantum mechanics was still quite bizarre and controversial to the mass of scientists, nor had they really absorbed the deeper message of Relativity Theory. In 1905 Einstein had shown that there is no "out there" to be studied: the observer and the observed are, and must be, intertwined; to look at something is to interact with it.

The workers building up quantum mechanics absorbed this tremendous insight and added one of their own: that cause-and-effect descriptions of the world may not always be available. One should be satisfied, in the realm of the very small, with predicting a range of probable outcomes and specifying no particular underlying mechanism that controls them.

This book discusses the massive shift in attitudes these two new views required of scientists. Ironically, the average layman was more used to dealing with the world in these ways: one learns about the world by participating in it, and all thought of the future must be provisional, because the world always has surprises in store.

While these thoughts were penned half a century ago, the issues are still current. Also, of course, there are a myriad of newer and sexier books discussing these issues, and relating them to newer technologies and more recent science. Yet Bronowski's book is still a good authoritative read. He was a mathematician and participant in much of the intellectual ferment of the time, and knew many of the thinkers, such as Fermi and von Neumann. He is a master of the intellectual history, and this is a book that relates scientific attitudes to the cultural milieus in which they grew up. But especially, this book is worth reading because it gives a rounded picture, in rich, intelligent prose, of an issue that is of concern not merely to scientists, but to all of us. ... Read more

9. The Poets Defence
by Jacob Bronowski
 Hardcover: 258 Pages (1979-09)
list price: US$25.00
Isbn: 0883557789
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10. Biography of an atom
by Jacob Bronowski
 Hardcover: 43 Pages (1968)

Asin: B0007EY5UA
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11. William Blake, 1757-1827;: A man without a mask (Pelican books)
by Jacob Bronowski
 Hardcover: 217 Pages (1954)

Asin: B0007ITQA0
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12. The Ascent of Man By Baronski
by Jacob Bronowski
Hardcover: Pages (1976)
-- used & new: US$59.95
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Asin: B0030HKWHQ
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13. Western Intellectual Tradition: From Leonardo to Hegel
by Jacob Bronowski, Bruce Mazlish
Paperback: 534 Pages (1962-09-01)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$10.82
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Asin: 0061330019
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Traces the development of thought through historical movements and periods from 1500 to 1830. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome read.
Fascinating book, I am reading it for a college course but have already recommended this book to many friends.Great pick for a stimulating read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Readable and makes sense to a common person.
I am a novice to philosophy and I cannot judge this work in relation to others in the great mystical relationship of mankind with the ..whatever... However I didenjoy reading this book. I liked itbecause it made sense to me. I could follow the logic of how European society progressed from having the church dominate a person's view of the universe, to one in which an individual's own thoughts are just as important and as powerful as any others. It was like reading about someone growing up and realizing they don't need a parent around to tell them what is right and what is wrong. I read this book as a story about thebeginning of an individual's freedom to investigate and discuss the world from any perspective without the fear of being judged as right or wrong.

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful Tributary Synthesis
This is one of those survey books, in the style of the learned, impartial treatise by the wise man. But here, we have Bronowski the wise but biased man. He says evolution is true, and that as time goes by, we understand it better and better. By contrast, he's got a problem with John Calvin, to the point of qualifying as something of a "Calvinphobe." We'll get back to that; but first, as a survey text, this is popular at the college level.

Bronowski here was intends to tie it all up, or integrate a Western world view: History, politics, science, achievement, and freedom. Bronowski delivers on this assignment, and convincingly argues that the matrix of the modern Western world can be boiled down and studied. Bernard Lewis of Princeton would agree, and Lewis has contributed to this subject by looking at how much of the Islamic world, by contrast to the "West" (anyplace controlled by Europeans), has hankered after the money and the technology of the West, but has rejected "Westernization." Consequently, says Lewis, non-Westerners are left with modern versions of non-Western societies, and their people still want to leave to express themselves elsewhere.

Bronowski can explain why. He has it down to two main ideas (by the time you hit his conclusion after almost 500 pages). First: The Renaissance launched the idea of developing your human personality, which means realizing the "potential of many gifts" and "fulfill[ing] these gifts in the development of their own lives" (Hardcover, p. 499) insofar as these are "special gifts with which a man is endowed." (Id., logical reference to the Apostle Paul in Romans 12 omitted by Bronowski, but what the heck); and second: "the idea of freedom" (Hardcover again, p. 500). Since "human fulfillment is unattainable without freedom...these two main ideas are linked," says Bronowski (somehow missing Paul's letter to the Galatians, articulating this about 15 centuries prior to the Renaissance, but like I said, we all have our point of view).

Bronowski applies his two points in the first 400 or so pages: how human fulfillment and freedom have inspired and produced the scientific and technical progress, which in turn has produced leisure time unimaginable to all but a few rulers in earlier eras of history. Now the Islamic world will point out that this thesis conveniently starts 500 years after the glories and achievements of the Muslims were already firmly established. And we can also see how these same two impulses were released and also channeled by Christianity, 600 years before Mohammed. But isn't it a great thing to be free to express all of this in our own free time? And free to dispute it, in creative, progressive societies in which opposition is legalized, to achieve what Bronowski calls "this balance between power and dissent" which "is the heart of Western civilization." (p. 501). The conflict of dissenting ideas overtaking established ones, and fulfilling some thinker's potential contribution to our machinery, art, navigation, or hey, maybe legal administration-is how "history is made." People putting their stamp on ideas. Idea driven people stamping out automobiles; or compressing information to travel through glass fibers.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining Tour of Western Thought
Despite its forbidding title, The Western Intellectual Tradition is a readable overview of Western thought from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Bronowski and Mazlish's book is an entertaining way to refresh your memory about that Western Civilization course you were forced to take in freshman year.

The authors make the ideas come alive by providing a thumbnail biography of each thinker, placing him (and I do mean 'him') squarely in the political and social context of his times. This can cast an entirely different light on a writer's work. For example, Rousseau, who created a philosophy based on a belief in the natural goodness of man, not only sired five children out of wedlock, but sent each of them off to a foundling hospital!

Bringing all these thinkers together in one volume highlights timelines that may have gone unnoticed. I had never thought about the fact that Shakespeare and Galileo were contemporaries. And how did England change within 50 years from a nation of baudy Elizabethans to one of strict Puritans?

One warning: The text is laden with footnotes. A few provide interesting background on the disputes over the ideas described, but most simply give references and can be skipped by the general reader.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Analysis ofthe Fusion of Science & The Humanities
I would highly recommend this book to people with an interest in the development of modern thought.The authors combine the impacts of science on the humanities and vice versa in a compelling book that leaves you waiting for the next page. ... Read more

14. Insight
by Jacob Bronowski
 Hardcover: 108 Pages (1964)

Asin: B0007DO1YG
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15. William Blake and the Age of Revolution
by Jacob Bronowski
Paperback: 232 Pages (2008-05-29)
list price: US$23.79 -- used & new: US$51.92
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Asin: 0571241883
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Bronowski was fascinated by William Blake for much of his life. His first book about him, "A Man Without a Mask", was published in 1944. In 1958 his famous Penguin selection of Blake's poems and letters was published. As further testimony to Bronowski's enthusiasm it should be noted that the final plate in the book of his great TV series "The Ascent of Man" is Blake's frontispiece to Songs of Experience. "William Blake and the Age of Revolution", first published in 1965, is, in some ways, a revised edition of "A Man Without a Mask", in others, a new book. In it Bronowski gives a stimulating interpretation of Blake's art and poetry in the context of the revolutionary period in which he was working. Like all of Bronowski's writings it dazzles with wide-ranging erudition, making this work far removed from conventional literary criticism. ... Read more

16. Philosophe Juif: Hannah Arendt, Edith Stein, Léon Chestov, Carlo Michelstaedter, Élie Munk, Herbert Marcuse, Jacob Bronowski (French Edition)
 Paperback: 176 Pages (2010-08-06)
list price: US$26.25 -- used & new: US$16.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1159878137
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Les achats comprennent une adhésion à l'essai gratuite au club de livres de l'éditeur, dans lequel vous pouvez choisir parmi plus d'un million d'ouvrages, sans frais. Le livre consiste d'articles Wikipedia sur : Hannah Arendt, Edith Stein, Léon Chestov, Carlo Michelstaedter, Élie Munk, Herbert Marcuse, Jacob Bronowski, Hasdaï Ibn Shaprut, David Friedländer, Aharon David Gordon, Azaria Di Rossi, Raymond Klibansky, Gershom Scholem, Isaiah Berlin, Martha Craven Nussbaum, Uriel Da Costa, Hans Jonas, Simon Dubnow, Irving Kristol, Ovadia Ben Jacob Sforno, Manasse Ben Israël, Yosef Klausner, Élie Del Medigo, Elie Benamozegh, Gustav Bergmann, Jeanne Hersch, Stéphane Mosès, Abraham Bar Hiyya Hanassi, Juan de Prado, Yehoshua Bar-Hillel, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Emil Fackenheim, Salomon Maimon, Nathan Birnbaum, Theodor Lipps, Tzvi Herman Shapira, Dov-Ber Borochov, David Gans. Non illustré. Mises à jour gratuites en ligne. Extrait : Edith Stein, en religion sœur Thérèse-Bénédicte de la Croix, née le 12 octobre 1891 à Breslau, dans l'Empire allemand, déportée le 2 août 1942, internée au camp d'Auschwitz, dans le territoire polonais occupé par l'Allemagne nazie où elle fut mise à mort le 9 août 1942, est une philosophe et théologienne allemande d'origine juive devenue religieuse carmélite. Elle a été canonisée par le pape Jean-Paul II le 11 octobre 1998. Née dans une famille juive, elle passe par une phase d'athéisme. Étudiante en philosophie, elle est la première femme à présenter une thèse dans cette discipline en Allemagne, puis continue sa carrière en tant que collaboratrice du philosophe allemand Edmund Husserl, le fondateur de la phénoménologie. Une longue évolution intellectuelle et spirituelle la conduit au catholicisme auquel elle se convertit en 1921. Elle enseigne alors et donne des conférences en Allemagne, développant une théologie de la femme, ainsi qu'une analyse de la philosophie de Thomas d'Aquin et de la phénoménologie. Interdi...http://booksllc.net/?l=fr ... Read more

17. William Blake and the age of revolution
by Jacob Bronowski
 Hardcover: Pages (1969-01-01)

Asin: B0045JGD6C
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18. Biography - Bronowski, Jacob (1908-1974): An article from: Contemporary Authors
by Gale Reference Team
Digital: 9 Pages (2003-01-01)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$9.95
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Asin: B0007SAH8A
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This digital document, covering the life and work of Jacob Bronowski, is an entry from Contemporary Authors, a reference volume published by Thompson Gale. The length of the entry is 2478 words. The page length listed above is based on a typical 300-word page. Although the exact content of each entry from this volume can vary, typical entries include the following information:

  • Place and date of birth and death (if deceased)
  • Family members
  • Education
  • Professional associations and honors
  • Employment
  • Writings, including books and periodicals
  • A description of the author's work
  • References to further readings about the author
... Read more

19. The Happy Passion: A Personal View of Jacob Bronowski (Societas)
by Anthony James
Paperback: 128 Pages (2011-02-01)
list price: US$17.90 -- used & new: US$17.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1845402200
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20. Academics of the University of Hull: Philip Larkin, John Joubert, Aaron Sloman, Jacob Bronowski, Claire Griffiths, Subrata K. Mitra
Paperback: 126 Pages (2010-09-15)
list price: US$21.61 -- used & new: US$21.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1155313151
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Chapters: Philip Larkin, John Joubert, Aaron Sloman, Jacob Bronowski, Claire Griffiths, Subrata K. Mitra, Richard Hoggart, Carol Rumens, Jonathan Israel, Jennifer Wilby, Raymond L. Brett, Martin Shaw, Eric Grove, John Saville, Alister Hardy, Philip Norton, Baron Norton of Louth, Rob S. Miles, Leslie Martin, Hanna Neumann, A. G. Dickens, George William Gray, Anthony Hedges, Rachel Trickett, Robert J. Elliott, Sherard Vines, Stuart Palmer, Matthew Pateman, David Starkey. Source: Wikipedia. Pages: 125. Not illustrated. Free updates online. Purchase includes a free trial membership in the publisher's book club where you can select from more than a million books without charge. Excerpt: Philip Larkin -Philip Larkin was born on 9 August 1922 in Coventry, the only son and younger child of Sydney Larkin (18841948), who came from Lichfield, and his wife, Eva Emily Day (18861977) of Epping. The family lived in Radford, Coventry until Larkin was five years old, and then moved to a large three-storey middle-class house, complete with servants quarters in Manor Road, near to Coventry railway station and King Henry VIII School. Having survived the bombings of the Second World War their former house in Manor Road was demolished in the 1960s to make way for a road modernisation programme, the construction of an inner ring road. His sister Catherine, known as Kitty, was 10 years older than him. His father, a self-made man who had risen to be Coventry City Treasurer, was a singular individual who combined a love of literature with an enthusiasm for Nazism, and had attended two Nuremberg rallies during the mid-'30s. He introduced his son to the works of Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce and above all D. H. Lawrence. His mother was a nervous and passive woman, dominated by her husband. Larkin's parents' former Radford council house overlooking a small spinney, once their garden. (photo 2008)Larkin's early childhood was in some respects unus...More: http://booksllc.net/?id=43923 ... Read more

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