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Science and Religion, An introduction, Alister E. McGrath. The study of Science and Religion is one of the most fascinating areas of human inquiry. The remarkable interest in books and documentaries dealing with God and physics, spirituality and science, and the great mysteries of human nature and destiny and a clear sign that there is growing interest in this area. For my philosophy a-level, i used this book to gather knowledge about the debate of science and religion, to complete my extended essay. The only problem with this book, although it may not be classed as is problem, is that you require at least a good general knowledge of at least one major religion and one major natural science to fully appreciate the book. The book assumes you have a understanding, but if you dont then it will be of little use. The book aims to introduce its readers to the main themes and issues in the study of religion and the natural sciences. Fraser Watts, says of the book. "This introduction to the relationship between science and religion is written with ALister McGrath's usual lucidity and clarity. One particular strength is the assurance with which he considers theological ideas in scientific context". On the whole the book is very good, I would reccommend it to anyone interested, but beware that it is complex, and prior understanding is neccessary.
History of Western Philosophy, Bertrand Russell One of the most famous books by one of the most famous philosophers of the past 100 years, but something of a pot-boiler, in my opinon: if Russell had had time to do a thorough revision it would be much better than it is, though it's still very good in parts. Russell's anti-religious and in particular his anti-Christian bias is evident throughout, but I don't argue with that and his discussion of why Thomas Aquinas is not the great philosopher Catholics of the period regarded him as – the book was published in 1945 – would now be accepted by most Catholics. So what does the book do? It surveys Western philosophy from its first recorded appearance in ancient Greece to the American and British schools of the 1930s and 1940s. There are a lot of interesting – and mind-bending – ideas on the way, but his treatment of older philosophy is perhaps necessarily sketchy and the book gets more detailed as he precedes and is better, or at least harder, in the section on early and later modern philosophers. One of the great advantages of the book, however, is that it tells a coherent and connected story: Russell points out in the introduction that if the history of ideas has any unity, this can only be set forth in a book if "early and later periods" are "synthesized in a single mind". Highly useful as an introduction to and an overview of figures from 3,000 years of Western philosophy – particularly ones who might otherwise only remain more or less famous names: Anaxagoras; Epicurus; Francis Bacon – but Russell's judgments cannot be regarded as definitive and the book is perhaps better read for educative enjoyment than for enjoyable education.