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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
Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge - Paul Karl Feyerabend This is a challenging book to review. The obvious problems are bad enough: Feyerabend quotes extensively from a multitude of authors that I know poorly or not at all, including philosophers of science (Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Carnap, Duhem), other philosophers (Protagoras, Aristotle, Plato, Kant, Heidegger, Marx, Lenin), scientists, most of whom he claims to have read in the original (Galileo, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Newton, Einstein, Bohr) and classical literature (Homer, also in the original). Thank goodness that I had at least read Wittgenstein thoroughly, so I didn't feel like a complete ignoramus. But if it were only the extensive range of sources, I wouldn't feel so worried. The worst part is that Feyerabend is obviously teasing you a lot of the time: in case you were in any doubt, he says so in the introduction, and then reminds you again every now and then in case you missed it. He wants you to read him critically, not just slavishly agree with him when he shows you the stone tablets he brought down from Mount Sinai. They could as easily have been picked up from the props department at Universal Studios, you know.

Ow! O wise Zen Master, please don't hit me again. I am doing my best to get with your book. And stop calling me Grasshopper!

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