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Faculty Reads, Volume 10

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Northeastern faculty members have written at length on a wide range of topics. Volume 10 of the faculty reading list includes an array of scholarly works penned by Northeastern University professors, such as professor of finance Harlan Platt’s exploration of how decisions — especially by government — can have unintended consequences, and a book about the importance of understanding broader ethical issues of war in order to form morally credible views of terrorism by professor of philosophy Stephen Nathanson.

Title: “Unintended Consequences: How to Improve our Government, our Businesses, and our Lives”

Author: Harlan Platt, professor of finance

Description: This book explores how every action and decision made by governments, people, science, technology, companies, and medicine can have unintended consequences and affect people’s lives, happiness, and fortunes.Platt argues that government is one of the bodies most responsible for causing damaging unintended consequences and explains how their impact can be controlled.


Title: “The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History”

Author: Anthony Penna, emeritus professor of history

Description: Using the most recent research from a diverse range of fields—including geology, climatology,evolutionary biology, archaeology, anthropology, history, demography and the social and physical sciences—Penna provides a comprehensive multi-disciplinary history of the planet, from the Paleolithic to the present era. The chapters touch upon single themes, including human evolution, the invention of agriculture and its global impact, population growth, urbanization, manufacturing, consumption, industrialization, and energy use.


Title: “Tunnel Vision”

Author: Gary Goshgarian (pen name Gary Braver), professor of english

Description: This creative work of fiction tells the story of how a Boston graduate student’s near-death experience stirs society’s fascination with the afterlife. The student’s experience leads a team of neuroscientists to investigate whether claims of seeing a tunnel of light while near death is evidence of the afterlife or just neurobiology. The scientists hope such a discovery would reconcile science and religion, unite all of humanity and end religious strife.


Title: “Terrorism and the Ethics of War”

Author: Stephen Nathanson, professor of philosophy

Description: In this book Nathanson argues that we cannot have morally credible views about terrorism if we focus on terrorism alone and neglect broader issues about the ethics of war. His book challenges influential views on the ethics of war,including the realist view that morality does not apply to war. It provides a clear definition of terrorism, an analysis of what makes terrorism morally wrong, and illustrates its point by providing historical context.

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