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Manny Rayner's book reviews

I love reviewing books - have been doing it at Goodreads, but considering moving here.

Currently reading

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
Richard Dawkins
R in Action
Robert Kabacoff
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
Douglas R. Hofstadter
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture
Harold McGee
Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood
Simon Evnine
Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
Christopher M. Bishop
Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology
Richard C. Tolman
The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition
Julia Herschensohn, Martha Young-Scholten
Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will - David Foster Wallace, Steven M. Cahn, Maureen Eckert, Jay L. Garfield, James Ryerson I haven't actually read this book, only the raw PDF of Wallace's thesis, which MyFleshSingsOut kindly mailed to me the other day. I just finished it. I'm seriously conflicted as to how to react.

On the one hand, I was astonished to find what a close emotional connection I had to it. DFW wrote his thesis in 1985. It’s clear to me that he was heavily influenced by Dowty, Wall and Peters’s Introduction to Montague Semantics. Well: I read that same book just about then, and I was also heavily influenced by it! It pretty much pushed me into doing formal semantics of natural language, a subject I’ve worked with, in one way or another, ever since. I found Wallace’s paper easy to read; I’ve thought a great deal about these issues, and the technical tricks he uses feel completely natural. I’ve used most of them myself, and I’ve written some similar papers.

The rest of this review is in my book What Pooh Might Have Said to Dante and Other Futile Speculations