Makes many good points and portrays a writer of intellect and compassion, but the arguments struggle to coalesce into a...

The Power of Uncertainty


An intelligent and impassioned, albeit not quite cohesive, argument for uncertainty and a foundation in the arts.

Formally trained as a mathematician and psychologist, Loase spends a good portion of this slim volume laying the groundwork for his thesis that mathematics relies on a foundation constructed on assumptions. Along the way, he references certain principles of statistics and calculus as well as more esoteric branches of mathematics. He also touches on the work of several famous mathematicians, ranging from Bertrand Russell to Andrew Wiles, making his points without belaboring his ideas or getting bogged down in minutiae. However, once the mathematical chapters are finished, Loase’s arguments quickly begin to lose momentum. A chapter on science, for instance, veers off topic into what reads like an attack on atheists, specifically Richard Dawkins, whose name is consistently misspelled: “Richard Dawkings has made it fashionable to deify science at the expense of religion.” The following chapter on free will muddies the waters further, since the concept appears more as a statement of Loase’s faith than a reasoned argument. By the arrival of chapters extolling the importance of literature, film, art, and psychology, the overall thread of Loase’s thesis has been lost in the ether, with individual statements and assertions making sense but failing to coalesce into a logical whole. Furthermore, while Loase’s work on the concept of “sigfluence”—positive, significant, long-term interpersonal influence—is undoubtedly valuable in psychological and behavioral studies, its value to the idea of liberal arts being a useful guide to one’s life development is not made sufficiently clear; as such, the frequent references to it seem more like self-promotion than an attempt to contextualize and/or bolster his arguments. Fans of science, mathematics, the liberal arts, and the value of a well-rounded education may find themselves echoing Daniel Dennett: “There’s nothing I like less than bad arguments for a view I hold dear.”

Makes many good points and portrays a writer of intellect and compassion, but the arguments struggle to coalesce into a meaningful statement, likely leaving many readers underwhelmed.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62006-485-6

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Sunbury Press

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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