This book is organized in a way that responds to different kinds of reading. It brings together pieces of differing provenance and disciplinary perspective. A reader might take it up as a contribution to the study of Diderot, or because it offers a reflection on the nature of acting, or because of what it has to say about the history of ideas and traditions of knowledge, or, again, because of the commentary it offers on the nature of mathematics, or on the relation between the arts and the sciences, or on the future of professional education. The heterogeneity of the book’s contents is obvious enough and is matched by the various identities of its contributors: mathematicians write alongside literary critics and philosophers; actors, physicists and engineers present arguments and commentary on topics as diverse as learning how to play a part on a stage, Hilbert’s twenty-three mathematical problems, and the working cultures of the computer industry. Although this heterogeneity is not accidental, it is clear that it does not correspond to any established disciplinary paradigm whether in computing studies, the history of ideas, or literary criticism. Yet what is in this book would answer to the interests of people involved in any of these disciplines. In this sense the book invites a ‘loose’ encyclopaedic reading. Each chapter or section can be taken as the equivalent to an entry in an encyclopaedia and read in its own right, or it can form the starting point for a process of cross-referencing which makes use of the comments at the end of each section as a guide. According to this way of reading, the book has a structure of a network which the reader can assemble in a number of different ways.
KeywordsTacit Knowledge Literary Critic Skilled Practitioner Computer Industry Practical Philosophy
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