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There are three types of reading for this course.

  1. Required reading for this course is linked from the Syllabus. Citations for the required reading (and some of the optional reading) are at Philosophy of the Cosmos - Reading Citations.

  2. There is additional optional reading tied to the lecture topics. This is also linked from the Syllabus.

  3. Below is some extra optional reading which is less specifically tied to the lecture topics. You might find this fun and/or helpful for your final essays.

    You can add to this list!

    You can also give us feedback. E.g.: at the moment these links are not in the same order as the lectures. Does anybody care?


Dictionaries and encyclopedias

  • Simon Blackburn, "Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy", Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. Any edition is fine. I recommend this to anyone who's at all interested in any kind of philosophy. It's short and funny.

  • Wikipedia is very good for some things, especially definitions of scientific terms. It's also pretty good at history. It's not so good in places where the issues are contentious. (One good place to find out which issues are contentious is the lectures.)

  • The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,, is much better than Wikipedia at contentious issues in philosophy. Unfortunately it's rather long-winded, but I strongly recommend having a look at it anyway.

  • Stathis Psillos, "A-Z of Philosophy of Science" (I'm too lazy to look up the full citation at the moment; email me if you need it).

General philosophy of science

"Science: Key Concepts in Philosophy" by Steven French: a really good book, written by a philosopher who knows more physics than most physicists!

Particularly recommended (but optional) reading for quantum mechanics

Possible initial formation of life on Earth

A non-fiction version of the reverse-entropy star thought experiment

The large-scale structure of the universe

On cosmology and particle physics, which turn out to be linked in strange ways

A great introduction to Special Relativity, with links to notes and examples

More on the arrow of time in Cosmology

Video dialogue on the big bang, expansion and multiverses

On dark matter

On the history of astronomy

On large numbers

Yet more on quantum theory

On causation

On the Fermi paradox

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