Showing posts from July, 2009

Computers and logic

Computers are logical, or at least that’s what we hope. It is a relief to know that the receivers of so much attention, from so many people, and for such long hours are dependable systems, with no inclinations, temperament, or minds of their own. People, on the other hand, are crazy, or so we often suspect. They buy lottery tickets aware of the odds, smoke despite being literate, and believe that black cats could seriously damage their health. This is perhaps why we use computers to try to inculcate some logic in their heads. There is, however, a catch. You would not use a washing machine to teach your nephew how to clean his t-shirt. Likewise, our computers do very weird things in order to see that 5 + 7 = 12. So how can we rely on weird machines to teach logic to crazy minds? Although not exactly worded in this way, computer-based logic teaching was one of the themes addressed by several papers presented at two conferences recently organised by the International Association for C

Metalogic: An Introduction to the Metatheory of Standard First Order Logic

An excellent book, old but still very readable and reliable: Metalogic: An Introduction to the Metatheory of Standard First Order Logic . Highly recommended summer-reading to any philosophy student.

Web 2.0 contre Web sémantique : un point de vue philosophique

Very kindly, Patrick Peccatte has just made available his French translation of my article Web 2.0 vs. the Semantic Web: A Philosophical Assessment. Thank you Patrick!

Advice for a Young Investigator

This is a book that any PhD student should read. Really. If you are a philosopher, just bear with Cajals ' impatience for the worst side of our discipline, expressed in the initial pages. After all, we have called it upon ourselves. The rest is a pure gem, beautifully written, remarkably insightful and as relevant today as it was at the beginning of last century. The mark of a great mind.