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Book tips from our researchers

Four book tips from our researchers in Philosophy, Psychology and Linguistics on world book day

Interested in the study of philosophy, psychology and/or linguistics? We asked researchers from our subject areas to round up their favourite book to help you delve deeper into these social sciences.


The Prestige by Christopher Priest

All of Christopher Priest’s books can be recommended without reservation but I have a particular fondness for this one.  ‘The Prestige’ is the story of a long, bitter and eerie duel between two Victorian/Edwardian stage magicians – a duel which warps their lives and that of their descendants.  Without giving too much away (I hope), the book plays a delicate and bizarre set of narrative, scientific and psychological tricks with identity and personality.  It’s a great novel, it’s a great science-fiction novel and it’s a great Gothic novel.  The number of philosophical problems it covers is mind-blowing too.

Alasdair Richmond, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

About Alasdair

Alasdair teaches undergraduate courses such as metaphysics and philosophy of science and his research areas of expertise include time travel and Hume on miracles.


The Science of Relationships by Lewandowski et al.

The All-or-Nothing Marriage by Eli Finkel

The Science of Relationships book is nice because it touches on all close relationships, not just romantic ones. The Eli Finkel book is nice because it covers classic as well as new and cutting-edge research on marriages. Both are great because they’re written by experts in the field and are very accessible.

Sarah Stanton, Lecturer in Social Psychology


Sarah teaches courses such as ‘Motivation and Emotion’ and ‘Research Menthods in Social Psychology’ and her expertise lies in studying close relationship dynamics.


The Unfolding of Language by Guy Deutscher

If you are looking for a very readable introduction to language change and how it relates to language origins, I’d recommend Guy Deutscher’s book ‘The Unfolding of Language’, which is an amazing read – funny, clear, and packed full of fascinating detail.

Kenny Smith, Professor of Evolutionary Linguistics


Kenny teaches postgraduate courses such as ‘Simulating Language’ and his expertise lies in the evolution of language, specifically how languages are shaped by their repeated learning and use.


Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem

Interested in learning about philosophy, psychology, linguistics and computer science? Cognitive Science brings together ideas from these research areas. Get introduced to cognitive science themes in this book of Futurama-esk short stories focused on problems of the individual and society.

A funny, wise, book of stories about what it is to be a robot (and therefore a human).

Martin Corley, Head of Psychology


Martin teaches courses such as ‘Sentence Comprehension’ and his research expertise lies in the production and comprehension of natural language; speech production.

Related links

Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh

Psychology at the University of Edinburgh

Linguistics and English Language at the University of Edinburgh

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