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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Sunday, 6 December 2009

"The Human Touch" by Michael Frayn

I hate this book. I wanted to throw it across the room.

Novelist and playwright Michael Frayn exposes the inadequacies in Science, Maths, Logic, Linguistics, Philosophy and Psychology through the power of his introspection and rhetoric.

I don't think so.

Sorry, Michael, but most of what you have to say has been said before. Your primary thesis seems to be Man is the measure of things which was around before Socrates. Your tool for demolishing Physics seems to be Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle although I think you have confused it with Chaos Theory. Maths has long understood and accepted Godel's Incompleteness Theorem. Logic knows the limitations of the syllogism. The people who work in these fields are well aware of the philosophical paradoxes that lie at the heart of their endeavours. These do not mean that all of Science, Maths etc are wrong. It means they aren't perfect. What is?

I object to your apparent belief that you can, just using introspection, revolutionise ideas have been developed through hard work by intelligent people over hundreds of years. Having admitted "The only way I can begin  to approach it [science] is through the supposedly 'accessible' books that some scientists write for laymen, and I can't honestly claim to understand more than a fraction even of these" you go on to ridicule the attempts of scientists to explain their theories. You sneer that these scientific laws are nothing more than explanations. And? Your point is?

I could go on and on. You certainly do. One of the flaws of this book is the endless repetition which your rhetoric demands.

Just one other moan. You claim that it is impossible, by introspection, to decide how or when decision are made. But psychologists using cleverly designed experiments can throw light on how humans think. But you ignore the hard work of so many because you are carried away with your own arguments.

I hated this book. It is endorsed by A.C. Grayling. This makes me not want to read anything ACG has written.

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