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HOW PLEASURE WORKS: THE NEW SCIENCE OF WHY WE LIKE WHAT WE LIKE By Paul Bloom, W W Norton, US $18
Certain pleasures—food, water and sex—are common to all living creatures. Others, like art, fiction, religion and science, pertain to humans alone. This raises the question: is pleasure something that we have evolved (i.e., a perceptual, low-level, ‘stupid’ impulse) or something that we have learned?
According to Yale psychologist Paul Bloom, pleasure has elements of both. It is at once embedded in deep intuitions and the product of higher cognition, instinctive yet intelligent.
Bloom deploys a range of anecdotes, from art forgeries to tales of human cannibalism, and draws upon neuroscience, child development, philosophy and behavioural economics to explain why humans like what they do.
ANTHROPOLOGY IN THE EAST, FOUNDERS OF INDIAN SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY, edited by Patricia Uberoi, Nandini Sundar and Satish Deshpande, Orient Blackswan, Rs 495
Anthropology and sociology have long histories within India. With an exception of fieldwork experience, there is neither much material on institutional and material contexts of these disciplines, nor on practices of pioneering anthropologists and sociologists in shaping intellectual contours of their craft.
The book covers life and work between the late 19th to late 20th century. It includes scholars with varying research trajectories and shows threads that bind these scholars. For example, their common concern with nation building and the value of science in intellectual history and biography.