- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Hyperion; 1st edition (June 30, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1562828398
- ISBN-13: 978-1562828394
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 47 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fuzzy Thinking: The New Science of Fuzzy Logic 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Kosko , an engineering professor at the University of Southern California, makes a provocative new scientific paradigm intelligible to the general reader. Fuzzy logic posits a world in which absolutes, such as those implied in the words "true" and "false , " are less important and interesting than the matters of degree between them. "Fuzziness is grayness," and "the truth lies in the middle," according to Kosko, one of the pioneers of fuzzy logic theory, which he persuasively presents as a world view rooted more in Buddhist and Taoist assumptions than in the dichotomous Aristotelian tradition. He proposes FATs (Fuzzy Approximation Theorems) for the existence (and non-existence, as fuzziness demands) of God and as models of the abortion debate. In consumer terms, fuzzy logic is behind such "smart" machines as air conditioners and microwave ovens that gauge their operation to the conditions and demands of a given moment's task. Writing with style and risk, Kosko challenges assumptions, not about the existence of scientific authority, but about its nature.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Aristotle is out and Buddha is in; the law of the excluded middle (either A or not-A) is repealed, and A and not-A together replaces it. No more black and white, right and wrong, true or false. In their place come shades of gray, more or less, maybe so, maybe not. Why? Because the new world of fuzzy logic more closely mirrors reality, has a rigor all its own, and is paying off in the marketplace. Kosko (Electrical Engineering/USC) has been called the ``St. Paul'' of fuzziness, and for good reason: Not only has he contributed major theories and proofs in the development of fuzzy logic, but he's also been a major proselytizer and gadfly, organizing conferences and frequently going on the road (which usually leads to Japan). He's also young...which may account for the passion and posturing that color the text. Indeed, until Kosko gets down to chapter and verse on what FL is and how it works, reader will be put off by the constant put-down of Western logic and philosophy and opposing schools of computer science. But when Kosko is good, he's very, very good. One comes away from his text with a real understanding of the concepts of fuzzy sets, rules, and systems, and of how they're applied to make ``smart'' machines, devices, trains, and planes. He's also good in extending these ideas to neural nets in hypothesizing how brains change, learn, get smart. But toward the end, he plunges big time into metaphysical questions about life, death, cosmology, God (seen as the math- maker). Curious about the future, Kosko says that he'll opt for freezing at death. Still, for all the self-indulgence, probably the best primer around for learning what FL is all about, certainly cuts above Daniel McNeill and Paul Freiberger's Fuzzy Logic (p. 45). -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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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.