100 books like The Case Against Reality

By Donald Hoffman,

Here are 100 books that The Case Against Reality fans have personally recommended if you like The Case Against Reality. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of World Hypotheses: A Study in Evidence

Steven C. Hayes Author Of A Liberated Mind: The essential guide to ACT

From my list on understanding and shaping reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

Steven C. Hayes is Nevada Foundation Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada. An author of 47 books and nearly 675 scientific articles. He is the developer of Relational Frame Theory, and has guided its extension to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) a popular evidence-based form of psychotherapy that is now practiced by tens of thousands of clinicians all around the world.

Steven's book list on understanding and shaping reality

Steven C. Hayes Why did Steven love this book?

Stephen Pepper’s central insight is that philosophical systems cluster around a few core models, or "world hypotheses," drawn from common sense. He ignores details and personalities, and uses very little quotes and citations. Instead, he presents the central tenets of each world view using his own terms. His style permits an understanding of the grand scheme of philosophy, abstracted from the details of particular positions. The book is like a series of colored spotlights cast on a complicated scene. Irrelevant details of various philosophical positions disappear like so many shades of blue under a blue spotlight. Fundamental differences leap out, now from one angle, now from another.

By Stephen C. Pepper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked World Hypotheses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"World hypotheses" correspond to metaphysical systems, and they may be systematically judged by the canons of evidence and corroboration. In setting forth his root-metaphor theory and examining six such hypotheses - animism, mysticism, formism, mechanism, contextualism, and organicism - Pepper surveys the whole field of metaphysics. Because this book is an analytical study, it stresses issues rather than men. It seeks to exhibit the sources of these issues and to show that some are unnecessary; that the rest gather into clusters and are interconnected in systems corresponding closely to the traditional schools of philosophy.The virtue of the root-metaphor method is…


Book cover of Walden Two

Steven C. Hayes Author Of A Liberated Mind: The essential guide to ACT

From my list on understanding and shaping reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

Steven C. Hayes is Nevada Foundation Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada. An author of 47 books and nearly 675 scientific articles. He is the developer of Relational Frame Theory, and has guided its extension to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) a popular evidence-based form of psychotherapy that is now practiced by tens of thousands of clinicians all around the world.

Steven's book list on understanding and shaping reality

Steven C. Hayes Why did Steven love this book?

An intellectual hero to many thousands of people (including myself), B. F. Skinner took weeks out of his schedule as a young academic to write a novel. But it wasn’t just any novel – it was a story that showed why he believed that highly precise work with nonhuman animals about how environmental contingencies altered action, might be used as a means of producing human progress and well-being.

At the time this book was written, basic behavioral principles were still not yet used frequently to improve people’s lives. There was no such area as evidence-based psychotherapy, nor a robust field of organizational behavior change. This book was an aspirational answer from a man who would one day, about 20 years from the publication of this book, be the best-known scientist on the planet. Skinner said that if behavioral science keeps its eyes on the prize, one day soon it might…

By B.F. Skinner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Walden Two as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A reprint of the 1976 Macmillan edition. This fictional outline of a modern utopia has been a center of controversy ever since its publication in 1948. Set in the United States, it pictures a society in which human problems are solved by a scientific technology of human conduct.


Book cover of Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life

Samir Okasha Author Of Philosophy of Biology: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on the philosophy of evolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Bristol. I am interested in most areas of contemporary philosophy, in particular the interplay between philosophy and the natural and social sciences. Much of my recent work has focused on evolutionary biology, a science that is replete with implications for traditional philosophical debates about human nature, knowledge, and our place in the world.

Samir's book list on the philosophy of evolution

Samir Okasha Why did Samir love this book?

The traditional neo-Darwinian view of evolution understands inheritance in genetic terms, as the transmission of DNA from parents to offspring. Jablonka and Lamb argue convincingly that in addition to genetic inheritance, there exist three other inheritance systems in nature – epigenetic, symbolic, and behavioural – all of which play an important role in evolution. The book is not a work of philosophy in the strict sense, but rather a fascinating and conceptually-rich synthesis of a diverse body of empirical findings which, the authors argue, can only be accommodated by going beyond a purely geno-centric view of evolution.

By Eva Jablonka, Marion J. Lamb, Anna Zeligowski

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Evolution in Four Dimensions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ideas about heredity and evolution are undergoing a revolutionary change. New findings in molecular biology challenge the gene-centered version of Darwinian theory according to which adaptation occurs only through natural selection of chance DNA variations. In Evolution in Four Dimensions, Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb argue that there is more to heredity than genes. They trace four "dimensions" in evolution -- four inheritance systems that play a role in evolution: genetic, epigenetic (or non-DNA cellular transmission of traits), behavioral, and symbolic (transmission through language and other forms of symbolic communication). These systems, they argue, can all provide variations on which…


Book cover of Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think about Our Lives

Steven C. Hayes Author Of A Liberated Mind: The essential guide to ACT

From my list on understanding and shaping reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

Steven C. Hayes is Nevada Foundation Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada. An author of 47 books and nearly 675 scientific articles. He is the developer of Relational Frame Theory, and has guided its extension to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) a popular evidence-based form of psychotherapy that is now practiced by tens of thousands of clinicians all around the world.

Steven's book list on understanding and shaping reality

Steven C. Hayes Why did Steven love this book?

We can’t understand ourselves, unless we understand our evolutionary history. In his book Evolution for Everyone, evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson outlines the principles behind our biology, history, culture, and morality. In order to understand how these processes came to be, we must view evolution through a multi-level and multi-dimensional lense, which is not only central to our modern understanding of evolution, but provides an extended evolutionary synthesis that allows evidence-based psychotherapists to view themselves as applied evolution scientists. David Sloan Wilson describes these processes and more in an accessible and engaging manner – all inside this volume.

By David Sloan Wilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Evolution for Everyone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With stories that entertain as much as they inform, renowned evolutionist David Sloan Wilson outlines the basic principles of evolution and shows how, when properly understood, they can illuminate the length and breadth of creation, from the origin of life to the nature of religion. 

What is the biological reason for gossip? For laughter? For the creation of art? Why do dogs have curly tails? What can microbes tell us about morality?

These and many other questions are tackled by Wilson in this witty and groundbreaking new book. Now everyone can move beyond the sterile debates about creationism and intelligent…


Book cover of Phenomenology of Perception

Charles P. Webel Author Of The World as Idea: A Conceptual History

From my list on how the world may or may not be what you think it is.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lifelong student with what I sometimes call “a multidisciplinary disorder,” I have been intrigued both about “the outer world,” or the “external environment of life on planet Earth, and “the mind that knows the world.” Hence, as a teenager in New York City, I read voraciously books in philosophy, history, and the social and natural sciences to learn what “great minds” have thought about “the world.” Much later, as an “academic” researcher and writer, I scoured the shelves of university libraries to examine what I considered the strengths and weaknesses of the academic disciplines that addressed our “knowledge of the world,” and their applications for “changing the world for the better.” My book The World as Idea is the first volume of a projected trilogy modestly entitled The Fate of This World and The Future of Humanity. I’m now working on the second volume, The Reality of This World.

Charles' book list on how the world may or may not be what you think it is

Charles P. Webel Why did Charles love this book?

Merleau-Ponty is one of the 20th century’s most important, and frequently overlooked, thinkers.

His work The Phenomenology of Perception has had the single greatest impact on my own thinking about how we perceive both “the world” of our senses and body, and the incarnate subject—the “I”—who is in the world. It is one of the great philosophical masterpieces of the past century.

By Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Donald Landes (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Phenomenology of Perception as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1945, Maurice Merleau-Ponty's monumental Phenomenologie de la perception signalled the arrival of a major new philosophical and intellectual voice in post-war Europe. Breaking with the prevailing picture of existentialism and phenomenology at the time, it has become one of the landmark works of twentieth-century thought. This new translation, the first for over fifty years, makes this classic work of philosophy available to a new generation of readers.

Phenomenology of Perception stands in the great phenomenological tradition of Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre. Yet Merleau-Ponty's contribution is decisive, as he brings this tradition and other philosophical predecessors, particularly Descartes…


Book cover of The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World

Carl Nordgren Author Of Becoming A Creative Genius (again)

From my list on appreciating your natural entrepreneurial genius.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never believed the idea that creativity was for a gifted few. Throughout my life, as a teenage fishing guide, an entrepreneur and college professor, novelist, and creativity guide, the folks I’ve met are rich with creative and entrepreneurial qualities. My calling is to help you appreciate your creative genius so that it appreciates in value for you. Growing your creatively entrepreneurial genius is the best way to prepare for a future of unknowable unknowns, the best way to build careers we desire, the best way to fully appreciate life. I offer various perspectiveS on core creative and entrepreneurial concepts so you can construct the best path to your personal renewal and growth.

Carl's book list on appreciating your natural entrepreneurial genius

Carl Nordgren Why did Carl love this book?

First and foremost we are sensual critters. At birth, our brains still have significant development to accomplish and focuses initially on the Sensory Control area since it’s vital for growth that we fully realize the messages and signals that the physical world is constantly sending. Here’s a poetic and philosophical exploration of how we emerged from and continue to be part of the physical sensual world. It makes sense it’s last. I’ve been reading it for two years without finishing; after a couple of pages of Abram’s beautiful wisdom about how, for instance, the first spoken languages were composed of natural sounds I need to put the book down and ruminate for a few days on the creative implications of my speaking and the sounds I make. 

By David Abram,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Spell of the Sensuous as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the International Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction

Animal tracks, word magic, the speech of stones, the power of letters, and the taste of the wind all figure prominently in this intellectual tour de force that returns us to our senses and to the sensuous terrain that sustains us. This major work of ecological philosophy startles the senses out of habitual ways of perception.

For a thousand generations, human beings viewed themselves as part of the wider community of nature, and they carried on active relationships not only with other people with other animals, plants, and natural objects (including…


Book cover of Bluets

Liz Harmer Author Of Strange Loops

From my list on Eros and Thanatos desire mixed with doom.

Why am I passionate about this?

For about five years, I became obsessed by the question of erotic possession, of the kind erotic love that would be so powerful it would be difficult to distinguish from a desire for annihilation, especially at times when one’s life seems so settled and easy. Why does this sort of love overtake a person? As I began to write my own novel addressing this theme, I read everything I could find on the subject, including many not listed here. I have become a hobbyist of the question of romantic ruination, and I am now preparing to teach a course on the subject. 

Liz's book list on Eros and Thanatos desire mixed with doom

Liz Harmer Why did Liz love this book?

Bluets is a work of fragmentary nonfiction so overwrought, and so filled with tears and heartbreak, that I return to it for solace whenever I’m wrought with such feelings.

It begins with the claim that the narrator has fallen in love with the color blue.

She writes of different encounters with the color’s pigments and presentations, as well as Joni Mitchell’s Blue, the biology of color, philosophy of perception, and more like this, all while she is blue: lonely, heartbroken, sad.

Bluets is beautiful, intelligent, heartbreaking, consoling; it is not afraid of to weep.

Just like Nelson describes wishing to ingest the color blue, not knowing what else to do with its beauty and the longing it produces in her, I sometimes wish I could ingest this book. 

By Maggie Nelson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bluets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color ...A lyrical, philosophical, and often explicit exploration of personal suffering and the limitations of vision and love, as refracted through the color blue. With Bluets, Maggie Nelson has entered the pantheon of brilliant lyric essayists. Maggie Nelson is the author of numerous books of poetry and nonfiction, including Something Bright, Then Holes (Soft Skull Press, 2007) and Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (University of Iowa Press, 2007). She lives in Los Angeles and teaches at the California Institute of the…


Book cover of The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories

Kenan Orhan Author Of I Am My Country: And Other Stories

From my list on polyphonic story collections.

Why am I passionate about this?

Perhaps because I get bored easily, or maybe because I hear voices, I have found that my writing lends itself to exploration (different points of view, traditions, styles). I write to learn and to play. I distrust writers whose characters all sound like them, live lives like their own. It feels completely unfanciful, completely disinterested in the long literary tradition of make-believe. Writing and reading, at the end of the day, are ways for me to escape boredom meaningfully, and why should I wish to do that with stories that don’t offer up a small amount of the great kaleidoscope that is life?

Kenan's book list on polyphonic story collections

Kenan Orhan Why did Kenan love this book?

The first story alone has enough jampacked into it to be more thrilling and entertaining than many novels.

A team of Confederate rejects man a rudimentary submarine on a  mission near the end of the Civil War. From there we are taken across eras and across the globe to stories of near-future whaling missions that are hastening climate catastrophe, imperial Russian ships stuck on ice, a camp counselor taking his charges on ever-zanier adventures.

Though largely unified in their explorations of people plugging away in spite of ill-fated circumstances, the range of this author’s characters dazzles. As much as this is a master course on authentically capturing voices of all ages, places, and periods, Rutherford convincingly captures location as well using it as a character as much as setting.

By Ethan Rutherford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The stories in The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories, a collection from Ethan Rutherford, map the surprising ways in which the world we think we know can unexpectedly reveal its darker contours.

In stories that are alternately funny, persuasive, and compelling, unforgettable characters are confronted with, and battle against, the limitations of their lives.

Rutherford’s work has been selected by Alice Sebold for inclusion in the volume of The Best American Short Stories that she edited, and also published in Ploughshares, One Story, and American Short Fiction.


Book cover of I Crawl Through It

Ruth Fox Author Of New Eden

From my list on fantasy that break the pattern.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up reading books, and when I was around 10 years old I discovered science fiction and fantasy. What hooked me about these genres was the imagination and skill that would go into building an entire world which only exists between the covers of that book. But I also found that there was an intense enjoyment to be had from books that sat within those categories, but which were more unusual; books that push the boundaries of their genre or introduce something new.

Ruth's book list on fantasy that break the pattern

Ruth Fox Why did Ruth love this book?

This is the story of four teenagers and their journey to cope with the anxieties of being a teenager, mixed with recovering from traumatic events. 

It is such an unusual book that it defies explanation. The best thing to do is to pick it up and read it for yourself. I found it confusing in a delightful way – the mixture of reality and dreamscape is captivating and leaves you wondering what is real and what is imaginary.

This book is chaotic and intense and left me feeling a bit dizzy, but I think if I had read it when I was a teenager it would have accurately reflected how I felt and dealt with the world!

By A.S. King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Crawl Through It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Four talented teenagers are traumatized--coping with grief, surviving date rape, facing the anxiety of standardized tests and the neglect of self-absorbed adults--and they'll do anything to escape the pressure. They'll even build an invisible helicopter, to fly far away to a place where everyone will understand them...until they learn the only way to escape reality is to face it head-on.


Book cover of The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook

Nick Inman Author Of A Guide to Mystical France: Secrets, Mysteries, Sacred Sites

From my list on seeing what isn’t there (or is it?).

Why am I passionate about this?

A while ago I lived with the extraordinary spiritual Findhorn community in Scotland and that experience opened my eyes to the mysteries that we are and that surround us. Subsequently, I became a professional travel guide writer and as I visited churches and megaliths, it gradually occurred to me that the ancients may have recorded information useful to us if only we could work out how to interpret it. Twenty years ago I settled in France, a country densely packed with extraordinary places. Here, I have been able to deepen my understanding of the universal, greater reality of which we are part.  

Nick's book list on seeing what isn’t there (or is it?)

Nick Inman Why did Nick love this book?

Every mystery hunter needs a guide to symbols and this profusely illustrated book is the best I have found so far. Symbols, by definition, point directly to the non-obvious aspects of a greater reality. In religious buildings they are a way to escape the material and approach the numinous, which is beyond the scope of words. Sometimes the meaning of a symbol is clear but in other cases the explanation has been forgotten and you need suggestions as how to interpret it. This is where this book comes in.  

By Adele Nozedar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The book is in excellent condition.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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