Lie detection, offender profiling, insanity in the law, the minds of serial killers, and many other topics that fill news and fiction are all aspects of the rapidly developing area of Forensic Psychology. David Canter shows how these often controversial topics bridge the gaps between academics and practitioners, behavioural sciences, and the law.
Luciano Floridi unpacks this fundamental concept - what information is, how it is measured, its value and meaning - cutting across the sciences and humanities, from DNA to the Internet, and the ethical issues related to privacy, copyright, and accessibility.
The collapse of communism was one of the most defining moments of the twentieth century. This Very Short Introduction examines the history behind the political, economic, and social structures of communism as an ideology.
Humour is a universal feature of human life. In this Very Short Introduction Noel Carroll considers the nature and value of humour, from its leading theories and its relation to emotion and cognition, to ethical questions of its morality and its significance in shaping society.
What is humanism? Can there be morality without God? Without religion, are our lives left without meaning? Stephen Law considers all these questions in this Very Short Introduction. Discussing the arguments for and against religious belief, and examining the value and meaning of life, he explores humanism as a positive alternative to religion.
Thomas Aquinas, one of the most famous and highly thought of Christian thinkers, was a controversial figure who was exposed and engaged in conflict. This Very Short Introduction looks at Aquinas in a historical context, and explores the Church and culture into which Aquinas was born. It also ask why Aquinas matters now.
David Seed examines how science fiction has emerged as a popular genre of literature in the 20th century, and discusses it in relation to themes such as science and technology, space, aliens, utopias, and gender. Looking at some of the most influential writers of the genre he also considers the wider social and political issues it raises.
Forensic science, with its connections to crime and detective work, is a subject of wide fascination. This Very Short Introduction looks at the nature of forensic science, how forensic scientists work, the different techniques involved, and the broader legal issues it raises.
What is depression? What is bipolar disorder? How are they diagnosed and how are they treated? This Very Short Introduction gives a history of these two disorders and considers how they are experienced and understood today. Scott and Tacchi also discuss how mood disorders can influence creativity.
This Very Short Introduction adapts Clausewitz's framework to highlight the dynamic relationship between the main elements of strategy: purpose, method, and means. Drawing on historical examples, Echevarria discusses the major types of military strategy and how emerging technologies are affecting them.
This succinct and insightful account of decolonization analyses the tumultuous events that caused the shift from a world of colonial empires to a world of nation-states in the years after World War II.
We have all wondered about the meaning of life. Is there an answer? Is it up to us? Or is the question a bogus one? Terry Eagleton takes a witty, stimulating look at this most compelling of questions - and proposes his own answer.
Biographies are one of the most popular and best-selling of the literary genres. Why do people like them? What does a biography do and how does it work? This Very Short Introduction examines different types of biographies, why certain people and historical events arouse so much interest, and how they are compared with history and fiction.
The Druids have been known and discussed for over 2,000 years; few figures flit so elusively through history. Enigmatic and puzzling, the lack of knowledge about them has resulted in a wide spectrum of interpretations. Barry Cunliffe examines their origins, the evidence for their beliefs and practices, and how we interpret them today.
Superconductivity is one of the most exciting areas of research in physics today. Outlining the history of its discovery, and the race to understand its many mysterious phenomena, this Very Short Introduction also explores the deep implications of the theory, and its potential to revolutionize the physics and technology of the future.
Epidemiology is the study of the changing patterns of disease. It is a vital field, central to the health of society, to the identification of causes of disease, and to their management and prevention. This Very Short Introduction dispels some of the myths relating to clinical trials, vaccination campaigns, and statistics concerning disease.
How did Islam arise from the obscurity of seventh century Arabia to the headlines of the twenty first century? This Very Short Introduction answers that question; exploring the cultural and religious diversity of Islamic history. Adam Silverstein explains its significance and considers its impact on Islamic society today.
Has multiculturalism failed? Is it time to move on? What is the alternative? Ali Rattansi explores the issues, from national identity and social cohesion to cultural fragmentation and 'political correctness'. Providing a balanced assessment of the truth and falsity of the charges against multiculturalism, he explores new ideas for the future.
The time known as Late Antiquity (c.300-c.800) was a fascinatingly diverse and important period which saw the 'Fall of Rome' and the growth of Christianity and Islam. Gillian Clark explores its historical controversies, introducing the main characters and themes, and demonstrating the transition between the medieval and ancient.
What are angels? Where were they first encountered? Can we distinguish angels from gods, fairies, ghosts, and aliens? And why do they remain so popular? This Very Short Introduction investigates stories and speculations about angels in religions old and new, in art, literature, film, and the popular imagination.
Fashion is a global industry, and plays a role in our economic, political, cultural, and social lives. However, fashion is often denigrated as trivial and superficial, a sign of vanity and narcissism. This Very Short Introduction will give a clear understanding of how fashion has developed while addressing these divergent views.
Interest in Buddhist thought has grown dramatically, and with it, the desire to understand where Buddhism stands on a range of contemporary ethical questions, which have not been traditionally addressed. This work examines issues including animal rights, the environment, abortion, and cloning, from a Buddhist perspective.
Was love invented by European poets in the Middle Ages or is it part of human nature? Will winning the lottery really make you happy? Is it possible to build robots that have feelings? Drawing on a range of scientific research, from anthropology and psychology to neuroscience and artificial intelligence, this work explores many such questions.
Explains why innovation and controversy are valued in the arts, bringing together philosophy, art theory, and many examples. This work discusses blood, beauty, culture, money, sex, web sites, and research on the brain's role in perceiving art. It is suitable for the public, introductory students, and teachers in the arts.
Engles' was not only the father of dialectical and historical materialism, the official philosophies of history and science in many communist countries; he was also the first Marxist historian, anthropologist, philosopher, and commentator on early Marx. This introductory book explores the importance of Engels's thought and work.
This Very Short Introduction aims to disentangle the 'real' Marquis de Sade from his mythical and demonic reputation of the past two hundred years. Phillips examines Sade's life and work: his libertine novels, his championing of atheism, and his uniqueness in bringing the body and sex back into philosophy.
Examines various aspects of ancient warfare from philosophy to the technical skills needed to fight. This work looks at war in a wider context and explores the ways in which ancient society thought about conflict: can a war be just? Why was siege warfare particularly bloody? What role did divine intervention play in the outcome of a battle?
What do anarchists want? Can anarchy ever function effectively as a political force? Is anarchism more 'organized' and 'reasonable' than is currently perceived? Colin Ward explains what anarchism means and who anarchists are in this illuminating and accessible introduction to the subject.
Leofranc Holford-Strevens explores time measurement and the organisation of time into hours, days, months and years using a range of fascinating examples from Ancient Rome and Julius Caesar's Leap Year, to the 1920s' project for a fixed Easter.
Hieroglyphs were far more than a language. They were an omnipresent and all-powerful force in communicating the messages of ancient Egyptian culture for over three thousand years. This work explores the cultural significance of the script and looks at areas such as cryptography and the decipherment into modern times.
Addresses question such as: how did Darwin use fossils to support his theory of evolution? What are 'living fossils'? Building on the scientific aspects, this book places fossils in a human context, highlighting their impact on philosophy, mythology, our concept of time, and popular culture. It provides an explanation of fossils as a phenomenon.
Benedict de Spinoza (1632-77) was at once the father of the Enlightenment and the last sad guardian of the medieval world, who attempted to reconcile the conflicting moral and intellectual demands of his epoch. This book presents an analysis of Spinoza's thought, and shows its relevance to the intellectual preoccupations in the modern times.
Christian images have a long history within the Western art tradition from the devotional works of the Renaissance period, to the interpretations of the 21st century. This book explores the changing nature of the representation of themes and subjects found in Christian art, covering the Eucharist, the crucifixion, the Virgin Mary, and the saints.
Simon Glendinning explores Jacque Derrida's work, from his engagement with the history of metaphysics to his views on law and justice and ethics and politics. Confronting and refuting claims that Derrida was an irresponsible 'postmodernist' or 'nihilist' he instead reveals Derrida's significant contributions to philosophy.
Adopting a different approach to ancient Egypt, this book aims to illuminate the complex world of Egyptian myth. It explores the cultural and historical background behind a variety of sources and objects, from Cleopatra's Needle and Tutankhamun's golden statue, to a story on papyrus of the gods misbehaving.
Film is considered to be the dominant art form of the twentieth century. It can be considered many other things; a record of events, a modern mythology, a career, an industry, an art, a hobby, and much else. Michael Wood explores the history of film, its venture into the digital age, and its role and impact on modern society.
Botticelli, Holbein, Leonardo, Durer, Michelangelo: the names are familiar, as are the works. But, who were these artists, why did they produce such memorable images, and how would their beholders have viewed these objects? This book answers such questions by considering famous and lesser-known artists, patrons, and works of art from the period.
As public interest in modern art continues to grow, there is a real need for a book that will engage general readers, offering them not only information and ideas about modern art, but also explaining its contemporary relevance and its history. This book does just that.
Amid the catastrophes of the twentieth century, the Spanish Civil War continues to exert a particular fascination. The Spanish Civil War: A Very Short Introduction provides a powerfully-written explanation of the war's complex origins and course, and explores its impact on a personal and an international scale.
The Roman Empire was a remarkable achievement. This introduction covers the history of the empire at its height, looking at its people, religions and social structures. It explains how it deployed violence, 'romanisation', and tactical power to develop an astonishingly uniform culture from Rome to its furthest outreaches.
Shows how John Locke, a great English philosopher of 18th century, arrived at his theory of knowledge. This work also shows how the liberal values of toleration formed the backbone of European thought of the 18th century. It looks at the questions which he addressed with such tenacity: 'how Man can know' and 'how Man should try to live'.
Racism exists in many different forms, in almost every facet of society. This book demystifies the subject and explores its history, science, and culture. Shedding light on how racism has evolved since its earliest beginnings, it examines the notion of race from a modern genetic viewpoint.
The Viking reputation is of bloodthirsty seafaring warriors. Yet Vikings were also traders, settlers, and farmers, with a complex artistic and linguistic culture. Using archaeological evidence, this book attempts to reveal the whole Viking world: their history, society and culture, and their expansion overseas for trade, colonization, and plunder.
The WTO has a deep and far reaching impact on people's everyday lives, and in its short lifetime has generated debate, controversy and outrage. This VSI provides an essential and accessible explanation of the political, economic, and ethical controversies: What the WTO is, what it does, and whether it works.
What is 'contemporary' about contemporary art? Who is really running the art world? This controversial and witty exploration of the dramatic changes that have taken place in the art world since the fall of the Berlin Wall provides a critical look at the reasons for the current art boom, and reveals the politics behind the business.
In this Very Short Introduction Terence Allen introduces the reader to the full spectrum of microscopy techniques and advances. Explaining the history of microscopic techniques, development, principles, and recent technological advances, this is an ideal introduction for anyone studying the life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering.
In 336 BC Alexander the Great became king of Macedon. During his twelve-year reign he conquered the Achaemenid Persian Empire, the largest to have yet existed, and in the process had a profound effect on the world he moved through. In this examination of his life and career, Hugh Bowden explores his cultural and historical legacy.
What are our human rights? What are their philosophical justifications and historical origins? Focusing on highly topical issues such as torture, arbitrary detention, privacy, and discrimination, this Very Short Introduction discusses the controversies and complexities behind these vitally relevant issues.