Simon & Schuster
May 4, 1995
The Third Culture is an eye-opening look at the intellectual culture today – in which science, not literature or philosophy, takes center stage in the debate over human nature and the nature of the universe.
Thirty-five years ago, C. P. Snow, in a now famous essay, wrote about the polarization of the “two cultures” – literary intellectuals on the one hand, and scientists on the other. Although he hoped for the emergence of a “third culture” that would bridge the gap, it is only recently – when books such as Daniel C. Dennett’s Consciousness Explained, Stephen Jay Gould’s Wonderful Life, Steven Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, Roger Penrose’s The Emperor’s New Mind, and Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct became bestsellers – that science has changed the intellectual landscape.
Now, as John Brockman shows, it is scientists, not literary intellectuals, who have the most to say on the important questions facing mankind. Featuring scientists speaking about their own work who also discuss the work of their peers, The Third Culture includes Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins on the implications of evolution; Marvin Minsky, Daniel C. Dennett, Steven Pinker, and Roger Penrose on how the mind works; Marie Gell-Mann and Stuart Kauffman on the new sciences of complexity; and other leading scientists on genetics, computer science, neurophysiology, psychology, and physics.
The Third Culture is a lively and challenging guide to the latest scientific theories and research as well as a spirited polemic about the role of science that is certain to spark intellectual debate.
John Brockman, chairman of Brockman, Inc., a literary agency, is the author of By the Late John Brockman, Afterwords, and other books. He lives in New York City.