What is mathematics, and why is it such a mystery to so many people? Mathematics is the greatest creation of human intelligence. It affects us all. We depend on it in our daily lives, and yet many of the tools of mathematics, such as geometry, algebra and trigonometry, are descended from ancient or non-Western civilizations. Introducing Mathematics traces the story of mathematics from the ancient world to modern times, describing the great discoveries and providing an accessible introduction to such topics as number-systems, geometry and algebra, the calculus, the theory of the infinite, statistical reasoning and chaos theory. It shows how the history of mathematics has seen progress and paradox go hand in hand - and how this is still happening today.
Islamic culture has produced some of the finest achievements of humanity. "Introducing Islam" is a fascinating look into a sometimes misunderstood faith
From Zeno to Mandelbrot: explore this new language with which you can describe the shape of cloud as precisely as an architect can describe a house.
Introducing Hinduism" offers a guide to the key philosophical, literary, mythological and cultural traditions of this extraordinarily diverse faith. It untangles the complexities of Hinduism's gods and goddesses, its caste system and its views on sex, everyday life and asceticism. This work answers questions including: Why do Hindus revere the cow? Must Hindus be vegetarian? And much more...
What is time? The 5th-century philosopher St Augustine famously said that he knew what time was, so long as no one asked him. Is time a fourth dimension similar to space or does it flow in some sense? And if it flows, does it make sense to say how fast? Does the future exist? Is time travel possible? Why does time seem to pass in only one direction?These questions and others are among the deepest and most subtle that one can ask, but "Introducing Time" presents them - many for the first time - in an easily accessible, lucid and engaging manner, wittily illustrated by Ralph Edney.
Romanticism is crucial to an understanding of modern Western culture. Philosophy, art, literature, music, and politics were all transformed in the turbulent period between the French Revolution of 1789 and the Communist Manifesto of 1848. This was the age of the 'Romantic revolution', when modern attitudes to political and artistic freedom were born. When we think of Romanticism, flamboyant figures such as Byron or Shelley instantly spring to mind, but what about Napoleon or Hegel, Turner or Blake, Wagner or Marx, who also emerged from this great period of turmoil and change?
Shakespeare's absolute pre-eminence is simply unparalleled. His plays pack theatres and provide Hollywood with block-buster scripts; his works inspire mountains of scholarship and criticism every year. He has given us many of the very words we speak, and even some of the thoughts we think. Nick Groom and Piero explore how Shakespeare became so famous and influential, and why he is still widely considered the greatest writer ever. They investigate how the Bard has been worshipped at different times and in different places, used and abused to cultural and political ends, and the roots of intense controversies which have surrounded his work. Much more than a biography or a guide to his plays and sonnets, Introducing Shakespeare is a tour through the world of Will and concludes that even after centuries, Shakespeare remains the battlefield on which our very comprehension of humanity is being fought out.
Introducing Descartes" explains why he is usually called the father of modern philosophy. It is a clear and accessible guide to all the puzzling questions that Descartes asked about human beings and their place in the world. It gives a lucid account of Descartes' contributions to modern science, mathematics, and the Philosophy of Mind, and also reveals why Descartes liked to do all of his serious thinking in bed.
Michel Foucault's work was described at his death as 'the most important event of thought in our century'. As a philosopher, historian and political activist, he certainly left behind an enduring and influential body of work, but is this acclaim justified? "Introducing Foucault" places his work in its turbulent philosophical and political context, and critically explores his mission to expose the links between knowledge and power in the human sciences, their discourses and institutions. This book explains how Foucault overturned our assumptions about the experience and perception of madness, sexuality and criminality, and the often brutal social practices of confinement, confession and discipline. It also describes Foucault's engagement with psychiatry and clinical medicine, his political activism and the transgressive aspects of pleasure and desire that he promoted in his writing
Linguist Noam Chomsky maintains that the human brain has an innate language faculty, and that part of this biological endowment is a 'universal grammar', a theory of principles common to all languages. Thus, all human languages and the ways in which children learn them are remarkably similar. Chomsky's book Syntactic Structures was a turning-point in 20th-century linguistics, challenging assumptions in many areas such as philosophy, psychology and intellectual history. Heir to the Enlightenment tradition, Chomsky has introduced new perspectives on language, the creative individual and the nature of human freedom in society. Introducing Chomsky traces Chomsky's understanding of the cognitive realities involved in the use of language, and the technical apparatus needed to represent it. The book also describes Chomsky's radical critique of the institutions of power and the pathways of oppression, and his commitment to freedom and justice.
"Introducing Semiotics" outlines the development of sign study from its classical precursors to contemporary post-structuralism. Through Paul Cobley's incisive text and Litza Jansz's brilliant illustrations, it identifies the key semioticians and their work and explains the simple concepts behind difficult terms. For anybody who wishes to know why signs are crucial to human existence and how we can begin to study systems of signification, this book is the place to start.
What really happens at the most fundamental levels of nature? Introducing Particle Physics explores the very frontiers of our knowledge, even showing how particle physicists are now using theory and experiment to probe our very concept of what is real. From the earliest history of the atomic theory through to supersymmetry, micro-black holes, dark matter, the Higgs boson, and the possibly mythical graviton, practising physicist and CERN contributor Tom Whyntie gives us a mind-expanding tour of cutting-edge science. Featuring brilliant illustrations from Oliver Pugh, Introducing Particle Physics is a unique tour through the most astonishing and challenging science being undertaken today.
Half a century of research has resulted in machines capable of beating the best human chess players and humanoid robots that can interact. But can machines really think? Is the mind just a complicated computer program? "Introducing Artificial Intelligence" focuses on the issues behind one of science's most difficult problems.
What is the place of individual choice and consequence in a post-Holocaust world of continuing genocidal ethnic cleansing? Is "identity" now a last-ditch cultural defence of ethnic nationalisms and competing fundamentalisms? In a climate of instant information, free markets and possible ecological disaster, how do we define "rights", self-interest and civic duties? What are the acceptable limits of scientific investigation and genetic engineering, the rights and wrongs of animal rights, euthanasia and civil disobedience?" Introducing Ethics" confronts these dilemmas, tracing the arguments of the great moral thinkers, including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes and Kant, and brings us up to date with postmodern critics.
How did the mind evolve? How does the human mind differ from the minds of our ancestors, and from the minds of our nearest relatives, the apes? What are the universal features of the human mind, and why are they designed the way they are? If our minds are built by selfish genes, why are we so cooperative? Can the differences between male and female psychology be explained in evolutionary terms? These questions are at the centre of a rapidly growing research programme called evolutionary psychology.
No one can escape the influence of the media. Every day we watch hours of TV, listen to the radio, read newspapers and magazines, go to the cinema, sit in front of videos or surf the Web. These information commodities exercise enormous influence and power over all of us. "Introducing Media Studies" explores the complex relationship between the media, ideology, knowledge and power. It provides a scintillating tour of media history and presents a coherent view of the media industry, media theory and methods in media research. It explains how 'the audience' is constructed and how it in turn interprets the content and meaning of media representation. We also learn how to analyse film