That nothing is certaine

I’ve been trying to put together better notes on elementary category theory; which is an engaging exercise, but that doesn’t lead to anything very interesting to report here. Another thing occupying me on and off has been writing quite extensive comments on a draft book by an ex-colleague: but although that does raise very interesting issues, it mostly wouldn’t be appropriate to rehearse them here.

Then there have been time-consuming domestic chores — including tackling the Book Problem once again. This time round, it’s been the non-work books. Piles around the house acquired over lockdown (and I’m not the only guilty party) were beginning to totter. So it’s been the occasion for an overdue major sort-out, with re-shelvings, donations of bags of books to Oxfam, and all those discussions “are either of us ever going to read that/read that again?”. Yes, I would for example, have liked to have read the  massive biography of Darwin: but life is too short (a phrase that becomes ever more telling as the birthdays clock by). That’s a precious three inches of shelf-space reclaimed. And so on it goes … But hardly the topic for a riveting essay here!

But perhaps the main reason for the lack of many posts recently has been low spirits as much as anything: try as you might, the state of the world just gets you down, no? The grim uncertainty of it all. But then,

… these things every one doe enwrap and entangle silly mortall men, void of all forecast and true understanding: so as this only point among the rest remains sure and certain, namely: That nothing is certaine …

Thus Pliny, “done into English” by Philemon Holland.

3 thoughts on “That nothing is certaine”

  1. Dear Peter, a very recognizable overview.
    A question: i used to get your blog updates by mail. Has there come an end to it since a rather long period?
    And did you have time or want to make time to give your view on Falkensteins and others
    Logic Works , Routledge. Big book ;)
    thanks and all the best in these worrysome times

    1. The emailing system broke when I moved the host for Logic Matters. Not many people subscribed to it, but perhaps I should investigate a replacement option!

      As to Falkenstein/Stapleford/Kao, I thought the book looks dreadfully uninviting and third-rate. And I felt that life is probably too short to bother commenting much more … But should I take another look?

      1. Now I know why the emails do not appear I understand why. For me it’s not a lot of work to go to your blog, probably less than it’s for you to work at a replacement. It surprises me a little that there were not that many subscribers if I see the enthousiasm with which your blog is followed and you books and adjustements are downloaded. Anyone who is able to do that can find the blog ;) I love your comments and appreciations of music, being an avid reader of musical reviews and blogs (Dave Hurwitz number one since covid with daily! reviews since covid) As to the logic book, I bought it, it’s (too) big and so serious but following your advice to read several together, here it is.
        Probably it takes you 30 minutes to scan and see if it’s worthwhile and hopefully not full of errors. But it’s your time, life is short and I have the Two Smiths too:) All my best whishes

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