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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, 29 March 2015

"Fuzzy thinking" by Bart Kosko

This book starts from the premise that things are rarely black and white; often they are shades of grey. Fifty? Therefore the logic that we use should reflect this. We have a logic based on bi-valence: true or false, yes or no, one or zero. Instead, Kosko proposes a multivalent logic in which truth could hold any value between zero and one. He insists that this is not a probabilistic view: he points out that a car parked 70% in one space and 30% in another does not have a 70% chance of being all in one space.

These are important ideas and this is an important book. What lets it down somewhat is the anger that Kosko feels for mathematicians and scientists and indeed anyone who disagrees with him and the insults he hurls at them. He treats maths and science as if they are not only wrong but, worse, run by incompetent charlatans who are well aware of the frauds they are perpetrating on the public. He is also rather too full of himself; he is an immodest messiah. He proposes a number of applications of fuzzy logic that he himself has developed; since this is an introduction to the subject they are not detailed and I would have appreciated a little more explanation here but then I am not a general reader (indeed, I was considering these issues in 1986 when working at Brunel University in Artificial Intelligence but at that time I did not know enough to be able to move forward past the problems). Unfortunately, many of his applications seem to involve digital computers which seem to give the last laugh to the world of bi-valence.

Despite these weaknesses, this book has many really critical ideas which I cannot do justice to in a review meant for a general reader. I shall be studying Fuzzy Thinking more carefully in a second reading. It was certainly an entertaining read and very well written and I am looking forward to understanding more of this field.

March 2015; 285 pages

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