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J-P Delaporte "J-P
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful: Art anticipates Science?, August 30,
Alexanders 'Notes' anticipates the paths that major
sciences would take decades after its publication.
This is no mean feat for a work of science but here
youre dealing with a book on architecture- or better, on what
architecture could and ought to be.
scientific interests will notice Alexander inventing- from
purely architectural phenomena - such models as
landscapes, adaptation measures according to 'gene' frequency,
evolutionarily stable strategies.
The general system
of analysis in the book serves as one of the best guides for
understanding cellular automata and the startegy of isolating
variables anticipates the justly famous work of Dawkins on
Alexander had almost nothing to work
with in the early sixties apart from some pioneering
formulations in early AI and a very acute insight into the
paradoxes of optimisation strategies.
His foresight is
best witnessed by reading the footnotes to the book which are
in themselves an uncanny selection of what would come to
dominate epistemology, evolution and modelling decades later.
People teaching history and philosophy of science
should prescribe this book as the pre-eminent case study
On the strength of this one book,
Alexander joins C S Pierce, Boole, Babbage and Minsky as one
of the greatest pathfinders in the recent history of
knowledge-- too bad that architecture as a discipline hardly
rose to his challenge and is now drowning in couture (and more
credit to the software makers who have kept this unmined
treasure in print).
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