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Simplicity and Complexity in Games of the Intellect

Slobodkin, Lawrence B.

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ISBN 10: 0674808266 / ISBN 13: 9780674808263
Published by Harvard University Press, 1993
Used Condition: Good Soft cover
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This book is in good to very good condition. The binding is tight. Some of the pages have underlining, writing and highlighting. The cover has bumps and scuffs. There is no creasing on the spine. Bookseller Inventory # 021787

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Simplicity and Complexity in Games of the ...

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Publication Date: 1993

Binding: Trade Paperback

Book Condition:Good

About this title


"If it were necessary, for some curious legal reason, to draw a clear line between human and nonhuman--for example, if a group of australopithecines were to appear and one had to decide if they were to be protected by Fair Employment Laws or by the ASPCA--I would welcome them as humans if I knew that they were seriously concerned about how to bury their dead." In this witty and wise way, Lawrence Slobodkin takes us on a spirited quest for the multiple meanings of simplicity in all facets of life.

Slobodkin begins at the beginning, with a consideration of how simplicity came into play in the development of religious doctrines. He nimbly moves on to the arts--where he ranges freely from dining to painting--and then focuses more sharply on the role of simplicity in science. Here we witness the historical beginnings of modern science as a search for the fewest number of terms, the smallest number of assumptions, or the lowest exponents, while still meeting criteria for descriptive accuracy. The result may be an elegant hypothetical system that generates the apparent world from less apparent assumptions, as with the Newtonian revolution; or it may mean deducing non-obvious processes from everyday facts, as with the Darwinian revolution.

Slobodkin proposes that the best intellectual work is done as if it were a game on a simplified playing field. He supplies serious arguments for considering the role of simplification and playfulness in all of our activities. The immediate effect of his unfailingly captivating essay is to throw open a new window on the world and to refresh our perspectives on matters of the heart and mind.

About the Author:

Lawrence B. Slobodkin is Professor of Biology at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. He is also a research scientist and past president of the American Society of Naturalists and the General Systems Research Society.

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