Yearly Archives: 2017

David Makinson’s Sets, Logic and Maths

As I go through chapters of my Introduction to Formal Logic, heavily rewriting them for the second edition (only scattered paragraphs are surviving unaltered from the first edition, and I’m adding wholy new chapters too), I’m occasionally pulling other introductory books … Continue reading

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Dennett: losing the plot

I’ve tried to read Daniel Dennett’s From Bacteria to Bach and Back. But I’ve lost the plot, and given up quite early in the book. I seem to now find Dennett’s penchant for metaphors, claims that are “sorta” true, analogies, free-wheeling speculation, his having-his-cake-and-eating-it … Continue reading

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Going cold turkey

I can’t say I’m surprised that an election has been called. As it becomes clearer and clearer (to the Tories in power — they were warned!)  how horribly long and messy and potentially disastrous the Brexit process will be, you can see why Theresa May, her Chancellor, and … Continue reading

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Another postcard from Rome

We always like to go to smaller, less-visited places — not just to avoid the teeming crowds, but also because we find that smaller galleries and churches and palazzi can be more humanly interesting and (not feeling overwhelmed) more enjoyable. Three final highlights of … Continue reading

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Postcard from Rome

A week or so in Rome, with beautiful sun, some wonderful food, coffees as they should be, quite a lot of wandering around back streets, and a less than frenetic cultural pace visiting a few churches and exhibitions. We arrived … Continue reading

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A word for our times

TrumpBrexiety (© Lucy Mangan)

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Raymond Smullyan (1919–2017)

I first came across Raymond Smullyan’s work — surely  like many of my sort of vintage — through his wonderfully inventive and illuminating short(ish) paper “Languages in which self-reference is possible” which was reprinted in Hintikka’s 1969 The Philosophy of Mathematics (in the Oxford Readings series). Still … Continue reading

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Setting tableaux using prooftrees.sty

[Updated] The first edition of IFL was typeset using FrameMaker (long since defunct on a Mac), so I’m having to LaTeX the second edition from scratch. I’m using Clea Rees’s fairly new package prooftrees.sty for downward-branching tableaux, a.k.a. truth-trees, since this seems … Continue reading

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Since it is Schubert’s birthday ….

Barbara Bonney, soprano; David Shifrin, clarinet; André Watts, piano. Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, “The Shepherd on the Rock”, D. 965

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Conditionals again

Here are two draft chapters on conditionals for the second edition of my Introduction to Formal Logic (to replace chapters 14 and 15 of the current edition). I’ve got to the point that I’d very much welcome comments on these. … Continue reading

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