Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

    Compassion, Empathy, Flapdoodle

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Compassion, Empathy, Flapdoodle
    Neuroscientific speculation has escaped from the laboratory and is now the rickety foundation for scores of bestselling, populist books. The sceptical writer and journalist Steven Poole has described the phenomenon as ‘an intellectual pestilence’ and ‘neurotrash’.
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    Christian Knowledge

    Tom Inglis
    Sociology, as taught in late twentieth century Ireland, was a discipline in which there was no interrogation of power, no analysis of social class, no questioning of patriarchy, no theorising about the role of the state and, in particular, no examination of the power of the Catholic church.
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    Thinking Machines

    Matthew Parkinson-Bennett
    Thinking Machines
    Transhumanists want us to merge with machines and upload our minds, promising immortality and total freedom. Like millenarians through the ages, they believe we will soon bear witness to the raising of the dead and the life of the world to come.
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    Customised Care

    Shaun R McCann
    What is known as precision medicine (PM) proposes the customisation of healthcare, with medical decisions, practices, and/or products tailored to an individual patient’s disease, in a process in which the “collateral damage” which sometimes ensues from treatment should be minimised.
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    Time to Listen

    Liam Hennessy
    Mental function is immensely complicated and our understanding of it still in its relative infancy; in Ireland our first psychiatric institutions date back only to the early eighteenth century. Could it be that it is the human brain or mind, and not space, that is the final frontier?
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    Look, It’s Simple

    Brian Trench
    At an early stage of a new popularising book on quantum physics a crucial paradox is introduced: that ‘the more we discover, the more we understand that what we don’t know is greater than what we know’.
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    A Postmodern Disease

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Up to 1 per cent of the population may have coeliac disease but many more have self-diagnosed themselves as gluten-sensitive. Is gluten sensitivity based on any scientific evidence or is it the product of a misalliance between academic medicine and commerce?
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    Webs of Meaning

    Mary P Corcoran
    We manage our existence largely by conferring meaning on the world around us. World views play a significant role in motivating humans to engage in purposeful actions and our beliefs and dispositions have a shaping role in the constitution of society, broadly defined.
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    There Shall Be Blood

    Mary O’Doherty
    Mentions of blood across the millennia are cited in a new medical history and the role of the microscope in the study of blood is recounted from the discovery of the lens itself through to early developments in its manufacture.
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    The Great Dying

    John Bannigan
    The Great Dying
    In the eighty-million-year time span from the mid-Permian to the mid-Jurassic periods, two massive extinctions occurred, as well as four of lesser magnitude. In the biggest of these, 250 million years ago, ninety-five per cent of existing plant and animal life perished.
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    Dum Spiro Spero

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Dum Spiro Spero
    Many patients with a debilitating terminal disease might, one would think, be glad to hear their time is short. Still, ignoring the statistics, oncologists will offer ‘hope’ and more treatment. Why, asks the old doctors’ joke, do coffins have nails? To keep the oncologists out.
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    A Little Lost

    Thomas Christie Williams
    When the first rough draft of the human genome was sequenced in 2000, President Clinton announced: ‘Without a doubt, this is the most important, most wondrous map ever produced by human kind.’ Now it seems that the difficulties that lay ahead were underestimated.
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    Towards the Light

    John Saunders
    A diagnosis of schizophrenia was once regarded as ‘the kiss of death’. However we now know that with effective and multiple interventions people with even the most acute condition can make a significant recovery and contribute to their community as valued citizens.
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    Leading on Climate Change

    Paul Gillespie
    The outlook after the COP21 summit is certainly better than after Copenhagen in 2009. But there is still a mismatch between the EU’s declaration of climate leadership and the resources it devotes to exercising that with the huge states of China and India.
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    Doing The Locomotion

    Iggy McGovern
    Dubliner Dionysius Lardner couldn’t wangle a job at Trinity despite his remarkable gifts of clarity and exposition, but he was nevertheless a successful publisher in England and criss-crossed America, addressing huge audiences as one of the great scientific popularisers of his era.
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    From the Jungle to the Plain

    Peter Kempster
    To prosper, the solitary animals of the jungle must ruthlessly pursue their own biological priorities. The social animals of the plain have the same drives but their brains must also identify situations where group interests override individual ones, and act accordingly.
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    Below Extinction’s Alp

    Seamus O’Mahony
    ‘The Hard Conversation’ is what happens when a doctor reveals to a patient the no longer avoidable truth. But perhaps society should also have a hard conversation about the limits of medical science and the desirability of providing not infinite life but a decent end of life.
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    Budget Ritual and Reality

    John Bradley
    The question we will face in the coming years is whether we can trust governments in Ireland to take wise budgetary decisions that are in the wider, long-term interests of citizens rather than in the narrow, short-term interests of politicians, lobby groups and powerful banks
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    Norsemen, Normans, Wicklowmen

    David Dickson
    The latest volume of studies from the Friends of Medieval Dublin benefits greatly from the efforts of many young scholars, more adept at moving across disciplinary boundaries and methodologies than were some of the heroes of the first generation who fought for Wood Quay.
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    Turn Down That Racket

    Sean L’Estrange
    Mike Goldsmith's engaging grand tour of the world of noise takes us from the (silent) "Big Bang" and the general quiet of pre-historic times to contemporary problems of noise pollution. An enjoyable read, full of insight and wit, it is a model of what popular science writing should do.
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    Hanging Out With The Molecules

    Andrew Lees
    The early 1950s voyages of William S Burroughs to Peru led to his discovery of the hallucinogenic vine yagé and issued in a book of notes and letters to his friend Allen Ginsberg in which he presented himself not only as a mystic and spiritual quester but also as a whistleblower on the activities of the Cold War superpowers.
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    The Rich Man in his Castle

    Sean Byrne
    The Rich Man in his Castle
     Few now believe that the positions of the high and the lowly are ordained by God, but the increasingly entrenched political defenders of the super-rich still maintain that massive inequality is in the nature of things and must at all costs be preserved. As Gore Vidal said and Thomas Piketty’s study confirms, it’s not enough to succeed - others must fail.
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    Complications

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Surgery, and perhaps particularly neurosurgery, can be profoundly rewarding. But there is always the possibility of mistakes, those little slips that can lead to disaster and another headstone in the cemetery that all surgeons carry around with them.
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    Thinking Deep

    John Bradley
    An academic discipline based on idealised economic systems which permit the application of a great deal of theoretical sophistication has produced cohorts of graduates with little knowledge of history or the real world. These idiot savants can manipulate mathematical models but have little to contribute to actual business practice or economic management.
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    The Hard Life

    Eva McGuire
    The Hard Life
    Neandertals were expert toolmakers, had big brains and lived in small communities which hunted large, dangerous beasts. A Neandertal, man, woman or child, was likely to sustain huge numbers of injuries in the course of a short life, yet there is reason to believe the community cared for its incapacitated members.
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    How Scientific Inquiry Works

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Postmodern critics of science have sometimes argued that it is a ‘narrative’ like any other and cannot be privileged over other narratives, for example alternative medicine. A new book, written with careful, nuanced scholarship, reasserts the value of the scientist’s calling, of rigour in research and of the importance of evidence.
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    Fiat Justitia

    Kevin Cross
    There are opposing views on what judges do, the realist school maintaining that they can be legislators, not bound by convention and precedent but making law based on their idea of utility, while the formalist school urges them to make wise, limited decisions which will serve justice and fairness and preserve the rule of law.
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    The day the ATM broke

    Sean Byrne
    The day the ATM broke
    The most dispiriting aspect of our economic crisis five years on has been the absence of the political courage needed to implement the radical political, economic and administrative reforms that would make Ireland competitive in the way that other small open European economies are competitive.
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    Getting an Edge

    Frank Allen
    Imagination, determination and an ability to exploit the commercial attractiveness to the consumer of the authentic and traditional have enabled many successful businesses to be created and sustained in peripheral locations in Ireland. Perhaps there is more than one viable model for industrial development.
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    Licking Death

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Licking Death
    Cancer is a serious business, and also big business, particularly in the US. But ‘declaring war’ on it is like declaring war on death. Our own Irish Cancer Society has launched a ‘strategy statement’ that envisages a ‘future without cancer’, but it modestly concedes that ‘this may not be achieved in the lifetime of this strategy statement’.
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    Doesn’t Add Up

    Shane Whelan
    Modern states are awash with statistics. So it doesn’t take too long, for example, to work out that inequalities of wealth are at their greatest since the late nineteenth century.
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    Getting to Grey

    Liam Hennessy
    Bipolar disorder has been explained as an attempt to create a world in which everything is either black or white. The illness can only be treated, it is suggested, when the important third element is introduced.
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    The Gentleman Naturalist

    David Askew
    Charles Darwin’s theories of natural selection and evolution have weathered well and he cannot be held responsible for those who have developed a repugnant politics on the back of a vulgarisation of them.
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    Clash of the Titans

    Thomas Boylan
    The pragmatism associated with JM Keynes derives from a sustained optimism in the capacity of intelligence to inform and influence correct responses to a crisis. Hayek’s market morality reflects an altogether more pessimistic view of human behaviour.
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    THINKING SHORT

    John Bradley
    A fixation on short term gain led to our economic collapse. Now it's time to focus on the real economy, where the fundamentals are still sound.
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    Angel of the North

    Éamon Ó Cléirigh
    In the 1970s, the young Christopher Robbins was admitted into the world of octogenarian film producer Brian Desmond Hurst, an unusual place, made up of eccentric neighbours, theatre folk, young men of religious convictions, aristocrats, policemen, blackmailers, sly procurers, feral rent boys and assorted waifs and strays.
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