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J-P Delaporte "J-P Delaporte"

Reviewer Rank: 537513 Page: 1
Notes on the Synthesis of Form (Harvard Paperbacks) by Christopher W. Alexander
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.95
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

Art anticipates Science?, August 30, 2005
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.

readers with scientific interests will notice Alexander inventing- from purely architectural phenomena - such models as
fitness 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 selfish genes.

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 'consilience'

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).

Page: 1

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