That’s what someone said to me earlier today, when I talked about the importance of Greenberg. Not unexpected of course – but it makes no sense to be ignorant about him. When I asked for the reason behind this opinion, the smug self-satisfaction of ‘you don’t understand’ and ‘we’re past this’ comes to the fore; the rolling of the eyes, the satisfaction of defence in group discussion and so on…
Well ignore me then. I don’t defend Greenberg to be radical for the sake of being some sort of radical hipster – there is a genuine applicability there, even now in computation. In short; ‘Context’ is not a particularly helpful way of articulating novelty in expression.
Misconceptions can be avoided if you just read the material and be honest about it. Incidentally, the same can be said of Wolfram in fact: everyone who vaguely knows his work has in reality hardly read the 1,200 page book from cover to cover. “Wolfram harbours an idealist agenda of religious metaphysics”. Yeah, he kinda does, but that’s a really bad reading that understands one aspect and assumes everything else follows it. Same with Greenberg.
Actually read it please – Do it. Spend the time. Learn things. Be surprised.
(Someone actually asked me earlier exactly how much time one should put by to read and digest Wolfram’s NKS in full. I’ve been reading it since 2004, but realistically… 4 months I’d say. 1 month for the main text – the next three for the notes).