regarding this section are found here.

As the terms are used here, critical reading is concerned with figuring out whether, within the context of the text as a whole, " " refers to the parents, the kids, or the cars, and whether the text supports that practice.

Critical reading refers to a careful, active, reflective, analytic reading.

But even when there isn’t a clear “computational X” yet, computational essays can still be a powerful way to organize and present material. In some sense, the very fact that a sequence of computations are typically needed to “tell the story” in an essay helps define a clear backbone for the whole essay. In effect, the structured nature of the computational presentation helps suggest structure for the narrative—making it easier for students (and others) to write essays that are easy to read and understand.


…claim to be an expert if you’re not one

Basic Concepts . Translated by Gary Aylesworth, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1993.

We can think of a writer as having taken on a job. No matter what the topic, certain tasks must be done: As critical readers and writers, we want to assure ourselves that these tasks have been completed in a complete, comprehensive, and consistent manner. Only once we have determined that a text is consistent and coherent can we then begin to evaluate whether or not to accept the assertions and conclusions. Reading to see what a text says may suffice when the goal is to learn specific information or to understand someone else's ideas.


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By nihilism Nietzsche means the historical development, i.e. event, that the uppermost values devalue themselves, that all goals are annihilated, and that all estimates of value collide against one another.

Here’s a very simple example of a computational essay:

The modern world of the web has brought us a few new formats for communication—like blogs, and social media, and things like Wikipedia. But all of these still follow the basic concept of text + pictures that’s existed since the beginning of the age of literacy. With computational essays we finally have something new—and it’s going to be exciting to see all the things it makes possible.

P.O. BOX 196 • Tomales, CA 94971

Nietzsche's fundamental experience is his growing insight into the basic development of our history. In his view it is nihilism. Nietzsche expresses incessantly and passionately the fundamental experience of his existence as a thinker. To the blind, to those who cannot see and above all do not want to see, his words easily sound overwrought, as though he were raving. And yet when we plumb the depths of his insight and consider how very closely the basic historical development of nihilism crowds and oppresses, then we may be inclined to call his manner of speech almost placid. One of the essential formulations that designate the event of nihilism says, "God is dead." The phrase "God is dead" is not an atheistic proclamation: it is a formula for the fundamental experience of an event in Occidental history.

Written in 1924, for the journal , but not published.

It’s so nice when I get something sent to me as a well-formed computational essay. Because I immediately know that I’m going to get a straight story that I can actually understand. There aren’t going to be all sorts of missing sources and hidden assumptions; there’s just going to be Wolfram Language input that stands alone, and that I can take out and study or run for myself.

Three dialogues written towards the end of World War II.

As an , even Nietzsche's metaphysics is theology, although it seems far removed from scholastic metaphysics. The ontology of beings as such thinks as will to power. Such ontology thinks the of beings as such and as a whole theologically as the eternal recurrence of the same. Such metaphysical theology is of course a negative theology of a peculiar type. Its negativity is revealed in the expression "God is dead." That is an expression not of atheism but of ontotheology, in that metaphysics in which nihilism proper if fulfilled.