Fuzzy Thinking: The New Science of Fuzzy Logic 1st Edition
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"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
- Item Weight : 1.45 pounds
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1562828398
- ISBN-13 : 978-1562828394
- Product Dimensions : 6.25 x 1.25 x 9.5 inches
- Publisher : Hyperion; 1st Edition (June 30, 1993)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #674,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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A low point in the book is chapter 5, entitled "Aristotle vs. the Buddha". In this chapter Kosko puts Aristotle forward as a champion of bivalent logic (which he was), and the Buddha as a champion of fuzzy logic (a dubious claim). He then proceeds to pan Aristotle not for flaws in his logic, but for flaws in his personality (including political incorrectness!). Similarly, he praises the Buddha for his personality, not for any contribution he made to logic. As near as I could tell, this chapter was completely irrelevant, and I feel that the editor was negligent is his duties for having allowed this chapter into the book at all. Unfortunately, it's only one of many weaknesses in Kosko's writing that were not corrected in the editing.
If you're looking for a book on fuzzy logic, I can't recommend this one. It spends too little time talking about what fuzzy logic is and what it's known to be good for, and too much time giving simplistic and unconvincing arguments about what bivalent logic and probability theory are supposedly no good for, or in wild speculation about what fuzzy logic might one day be good for. The book isn't a total loss, but the useful parts are too few and far between to make this book worth sifting through.
First, let me say that fuzzy logic and fuzzy arithmetic are great tools. They're valued parts of the 'soft logic' kit that includes probability, interval arithmetic, Bayesian and Markov networks, and lots of other good stuff. Fuzziness involves many of the formal techniques used in probability and elsewhere, and gives a useful, alternative view of the systems it addresses.
The basic fuzzy idea is that most descriptions involve shades of gray, that few systems really match the black/white, on/off, either/or duality of standard formal logic. That's fine, I can get along with that quite well.
My problem, though, is that Kosko presents the fuzzy world-view vs. the traditional or "scientific" in exactly the black and white terms that he rejects. He also argues that fuzziness describes the world more effectively than "scientific" terms, that the rules of arithmetic, probability, and calculus are just games. They are played for their internal consistency, not because differentiation or factorials occur in nature.
That's true, and as a heavy math user I know enough to distinguish my models from reality. Two facts remain, though. First, the models very often do describe reality in ways that can be checked easily enough: the bridge doesn't fall down and the TV receives its signal. Both happen because the bad old exact arithmetic has some kind of correspondence (no, I don't know what) to the real world, giving real ability to predict real results. Second, fuzzy logic and fuzzy arithmetic are themselves mathematical formalisms, games like all the others. Once you get past the gee-whiz stage, there is mathematical content as rigorous as in any other field of study. It's not either/or, it's very often a different way to interpret the same self-consistent games people have played for years. It adds interesting rules to the game.
The great thing is that you really can use the new interpretations and tools along with the old ones. Fuzziness doesn't demolish the old structures, it bolsters them and adds capacity.
And you can get all these benefits without shrink-wrapped, bite-sized pieces of Eastern philosophy.