Saturday, March 10, 2007
  What I'm reading
I've managed to shed nearly all the books I own over the past year or so. I gave most of my favorites to my lovely girlfriend, and so I consider these hers even though I still have access to them and I don't suspect she'll get around to reading them before she rounds out her to-do list by learning Hebrew and becoming an astronaut. When I moved up here, I left the rest of my books in the care of some people who will probably end up selling them (which I think I'm at peace with except for the tiny 1918 Modern Library edition of The Genealogy of Morals.)
So I've thrown myself on the mercy of the library.

As a new feature here at When We Move, I'm going to start writing about not only all the books I read, but in fact all the books I have signified my intentions of reading through the act of possession. That is, I'll report on what I've checked out from the library, when I'm in the middle of a lot of things. A simple list would do just fine, but why not give it the extra 35% and adorn each item with a few notes.


  1. Shoenfield, Joseph R. Mathematical Logic. Being more familiar with the use of symbolic logic in mathematics never hurts, and I suspect I'll need it when I inaugurate my research project on the history of the idea of the formal system. Progress: 14/344 terse symbol filled pages.
  2. Chaitin, Gregory J. Meta Math! The Quest for Omega. Part of my "why not read everything by Gregory Chaitin" series. This one's for popular audiences. No LISP, but longer than the rest. Progress: Haven't opened it.
  3. Chaitin, Gregory J. The Limits of Mathematics. Algorithmic Information Theory. Not for popular audiences. Rife with LISP code, but short. Progress: Virtually none.
  4. Larson/Hostetler. Precalculus. Heh. I read about set theory, category theory, model theory, graph theory, topology, game theory, incompleteness, computational complexity, algorithmic information theory, probability theory, analysis, mathematical logic and combinatorics. My dark secret: I taught myself trigonometry and I'm terrible at it.
  5. Campbell, Jeremy. Grammatical Man: Information, Entropy, Language, and Life. There's a serial comma in the title, which a consider a plus. Progress: I started this but got weirded out by the difference between (presumably) Shannon's wishy-washy interpretation of information content and Kolmogorov complexity. Maybe I'll pick it up again soon.
  6. Kenny, Anthony. Wittgenstein. I'm thinking about Wittgenstein again, I'm probably going to read PI sometime soon. I tend to try to surround my reading of primary sources with readings of lighter interpretive works, to get myself in the right frame of mind. Progress: I'm through the introduction.
  7. Pears, David. Ludwig Wittgenstein. See above. I haven't opened it yet.
  8. Rée, Jonathan. Heidegger. I've been trying to get closer to understanding Heidegger. There's no way I'm reading Being and Time unless I know it's going to be productive. I picked up a few introductory books to get a better handle on the situation. This one is tiny! Progress: I'm 10 pages into it which is like a fifth of the whole book. I haven't started either of the others.
  9. Inwood, Michael. Heidegger. See above. Apparently the same author wrote the VSI volume on Heidegger. I love the VSI series.
  10. Clark, Timothy. Martin Heidegger. See above, only with an emphasis on literary studies, as it's part of the Routledge Critical Thinkers series.
  11. Plant, Raymond. Hegel. Another tiny book from the same series as the Heidegger one above. My only understanding of the dialectic comes from studying Marx. So I have questions. Progress: Zero.
  12. Hawkes, Terrence. Structuralism & Semiotics. I'm approaching structuralism again, as I got a muddled account of it in my introduction to anthropology class. Progress: I OD'd on introductions to Saussure near the beginning and haven't picked it up again yet.
  13. Nishioka, Hayward. Foot Throws: Karate, Judo and Self-Defense. I've been re-training, and I thought I might learn some throws as the style of Kung Fu I practiced is pretty percussive and, well, it's much easier to kick someone once you've thrown them on the ground. I'm martial-arts-illustrative-picture illiterate or something though; I can never read the motion of the move from the pictures. Progress: Virtually none, it'll probably be returned.
Plus everything I've reviewed here (I admit I'm lazy about returning things.) As you can see, I'm not more than a few pages into anything but I'm working on a lot.


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"Open your eyes, Clevinger. It doesn't make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who's dead."

When we move, it's a movement

An attempt to overcome a crippling perfectionism; an appendix-in-progress for a perpetually unwritten book. Notes on variety of subjects including but not limited to: cognition, mathematics, sociology, philosophy and art. Now with book reviews!

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J.S. Nelson is a young fellow with a broad array of interests and a lot of time on his hands.

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