Books: Aliens

LOST IN THE COSMOS By Walker Percy Farrar, Straus & Giroux 262 pages; $14.95

Walker Percy subtitles this witty, philosophical miscellany The Last Self-Help Book. The designation is ironic because Percy doubts that "self can help itself or, with apologies to Socrates, even know itself. The pith of his bad news goes something like this: scientific observation explains the world wonderfully but cannot explain the nature of the self without dispiriting results. The reason is that science reduces the mysterious entity to chemical interactions and sets of behavior. This does little for the...

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