Book Review: Mindware

Mindware by Andy Clark is a book I read for my MSc, which I will be starting in October. It was interesting, and I would recommend it, but it is challenging in places for someone who has very little (read ‘no’) knowledge of robotic systems. Having said that, I found the parts that focused on philosophy of mind and cognitive psychology very accessible, so perhaps I just need to brush up on my robotics skills.

First things first: this guy desperately needs a good proofreader. There were so many grammatical mistakes in the text that I found it quite painful to read at times; the spelling was also off, sometimes so badly that the meaning of an entire sentence was altered: ‘proceeding’ for ‘preceding’ was one example of a glaring error. I found this quite disappointing.

The book itself though, once I looked past the grammar and spelling (not an easy thing for a proofreader to do!), was pretty good. Not amazing, not fantastic, not the best book I’ve ever read; but a good, in-depth introduction that makes you think really hard without throwing you in over your head. The bits I had no prior knowledge of were very challenging, but I could understand them if I tried. Clark writes accessibly and isn’t patronising, which is a difficult and delicate balance to achieve.

The conclusion was beautiful, the appendices were certainly also worth reading (although I almost felt that they should have been at the start of the book), and overall I’d recommend it to someone starting an advanced course in Philosophy of Cognitive Science.

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