[Humanist] 29.408 no index!

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Oct 21 07:19:09 CEST 2015

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 408.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2015 16:47:06 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: no index

I was recently reminded of how much can change and has changed because 
of the tools we have now by a sentence in the Preface of George Pólya's 
Induction and Analogy in Mathematics (Princeton 1954), which is volume I 
of Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning. This is it, from p. ix:

> I have not provided an index, since an index would tend to render the
> terminology more rigid than it is desirable in this kind of work.

I firmly believe in the principle of tradeoff when applied judiciously. 
This principle says that for everything you gain you lose something 
else. (Plato, I recall, argued more or less the same thing with regards 
to whole lives.) Polya, I think, presents us with a clear case. I'd 
suppose that the best response is to figure out the consequences, and at 
least in some instances, in one's own life, to attempt return to the 
world of deeply immersive reading, with no indexes or searching 


Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London, and Digital Humanities Research
Group, University of Western Sydney

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