I’ll try to balance my two glowing reviews of Natural Reflections with some mild criticism. There are two specific complaints I have. First, as I’ve experienced with much writing in this genre, Herrnstein-Smith cites a research paper or puts something in the footnotes when an example would have clarified much. Throughout the book, she alludes to the fact that scientists exhibit some of the same cognitive limitations (such as confirmation bias) that other humans do. But other than an introductory anecdote, I wasn’t left with anything concrete. Rather than references a study by Mynatt, Doherty and Tweney (on p. 133), it would have been nice to see an example.
My only other (even more minor) gripe is that her discussion on the relationship between basic research and technology towards the end of the last chapter would have benefited from an economics perspective. But she managed to effectively make her point anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal.