[OS X TeX] Who should use (La)TeX - who is able to use it?

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Wed Nov 17 02:45:06 EST 2004

On 17 Nov 2004, at 01:57, Alain Schremmer wrote:

> Another Ah Ha!
> You have given me food for thought with the copy paste issue.
> I "am sure" that it can be circumvented. Roughly, I think, it is a 
> matter of specifying how much automation to choose and, therefore, how 
> much freedom to lose. But I think that here, losing freedom would not 
> be a big issue as long as the "regular TeXshop would still be around. 
> But I have to think about it a lot more.

OT (and after this post I will shut up about the subject).

There are subjects (roughly all subjects) where more thinking does not 
lead to more insight. Only doing brings kwoledge (know how). This has 
nothing to do with personality, though it is my experience that 
particulary mathematicians and (inexperienced) computer scientists 
often assume that it is a necessity that this (or any rational act) 
should be doable in discrete systems (like computers). People "are 
sure" that something can be done.

If the history of cognitive systems and AI has learned one thing, then 
it is that this assumption (amongst others) is wrong. See Dreyfus for 
more details on the assumptions underlying the certainty that many 
things 'can be done'.


PS. TeX is a language, not a typesetter only. A programming language, 
even. That means that writing TeX is fundamentally different from GUI 
wordprocessing. It is not that TeX separates content and layout (though 
systems like LaTeX which try to do that have been built with TeX). I 
think that means that TeX as it is now is definitely not for everyone.

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