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Simplicity and Complexity in Games of the Intellect F First Edition Edition

2.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674808256
ISBN-10: 0674808258
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

These "notes" concerning "simplicity and complexity and what their intellectual role is and has been" are not very systematic but are wide in scope: they address psychology, art, evolution, metaphysics, and dining. In them, Slobodkin makes a number of serious points about the relations between intuition and analysis and of the importance of simplification to understanding. These occur, however, amidst many more modest, even confusing passages. Furthermore, many of the author's points have been made before, and many of them more eloquently developed in the works of Nelson Goodman ( Of Mind & Other Matters , Harvard Univ. Pr., 1984). So although the book is not without merit and occasionally entertaining, it cannot be highly recommended for purchase.
- Bruce Umbaugh, Univ. of Maryland, College Park
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

This is a timely book. In an age of specialization--a tendency that bewilders most citizens, and in the long run threatens intellectual activity in our civilization--Slobodkin is able to write about the connections between science, art, games, and dining in an important and entertaining way. I think it will be a classic. (Daniel B. Botkin University of California, Santa Barbara)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; F First Edition edition (March 6, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674808258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674808256
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,619,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
First off, don't be fooled by this book's small size and lack of jargon. Slobodkin puts forth the argument that complexity is not needed to explain and predict many phenomena that are, themselves, complicated. Simple constructs, philosophical and/or mathematical, often lead to results that appear as though they could only have been generated by complexity. In biology, he's following May's 1976 book on Stability and Complexity, in which relatively straightforward maths lead to almost impossibly complicated ecological results. Slobodkin develops, plays with, and extends this notion, with more success in some areas than others, to religion and epistemology. The book serves two functions. It presents Slobodkin's view that one should search for simple causes AND recognize that multiple causal agents, and their interactions, even though they are simple in and of themselves, may lead to such apparent complexities as the diversity of organisms on the land surface or the range of Christian religions across North America. Secondly, though somewhat indirectly, Slobodkin attempts to show that his Occamish view of the world is a viable alternative to the popular (and pop-popular) trend of explaining complexity using complex-systems theory, without searching for a simple set of causes (and interactions) first. My own view is that he does not accomplish the second task because he spends too little time on it.
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Format: Paperback
Maybe a bit of simplicity was called for here!. this book teases with possible insights into something (not sure what), that get lost in obfuscating text, personal digression, unexplained literary and artistic reference and illusion, and the authors obvious love affair with Japan - after his residance there. the chapter on the three dinners (a long detailed description of three different meals that the author had participated in) totally lost me. What is the Point? Life is too short for this one.
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Format: Paperback
I agree with the editorial review, this book may entertain a bit, but does not enlighten. It does not merit a detailed review.

It may be worth the $1.08 asked for in the used book section not including shipping so look elsewhere for your science education and entertainment.
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