Monday, October 19, 2009

Curtis Franks: The Autonomy of Mathematical Knowledge

On Saturday, from the new books stand the CUP bookshop, I picked up a copy of Curtis Franks's The Autonomy of Mathematical Knowledge: Hilbert's Program Revisited.

Two quick grumbles. First, the book is short: just a hundred and ninety very generously spaced pages, maybe 60,000 words in all? Well, I'm all for short books, and I'm trying myself to write one now. But £45/$75? Much as though I love CUP, that really is more than a tad extortionate (and I probably wouldn't have coughed up but for a big discount as a press author). Secondly, I can't say that I particularly like Franks' prose style, which tends to the unnecessarily flowery and slightly contorted, which makes you occasionally too aware of the medium rather than the message.

But having got those grumbles off my chest, let me say that the book looks very interesting indeed -- a must read for anyone interested in matters round and about Hilbert's Programme, which means pretty much any philosopher of mathematics. So order for your library today. And I plan to blog about this book, chapter by chapter, starting here tomorrow ... (promises, promises!).

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just a little nit. Did you perhaps mean "style" or "type" instead of "stype"? While I'm at it, shouldn't it be "Franks'"? Sorry to be picky. Love reading your blog.

"Secondly, I can't say that I particularly like Franks's prose stype,..."

Peter Smith said...

Ooops. Thanks.