Chapter 0: General Notes

Section 0: General Notes

Writing style

This book was not easy to write, not least because it contains many complex intellectual arguments presented in plain language. And in order to make these arguments as easy to understand as possible, I have had to adopt some rhetorical devices. Perhaps most annoying to those with a copyediting orientation will be my predilection for starting sentences with conjunctions. The main reason I have done this is to break up what would otherwise be extremely long sentences. For the points that I make are often sufficiently complex to require quite long explanations. And to make what I have written more readable than, say, a typical classic work of philosophy, I have broken these explanations into several sentences, necessarily with conjunctions at the beginning of each. Also annoying to some will be my widespread use of short paragraphs. In the main text I normally follow the principle that any paragraph should communicate just one basic idea. And my hope is then that after reading each paragraph readers will pause a moment to absorb each idea before going on to the next one. (This book introduces the third major distinct style of writing that I have used in publications. The first I developed for scientific papers; the second for documents like The Mathematica Book.)

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From Stephen Wolfram: A New Kind of Science [citation]