Logic books of the year?

It’s the season when the literary supplements are full of choices of books of the year. And I for one am made to feel I just Haven’t Been Keeping Up. Ah well …

In fact, the only 2017 published novel I seem to have read this year — though with great enjoyment and at the warm recommendation of Mrs Logic Matters — has been John Banville’s Mrs Osmond (his sort-of-sequel to Portrait of a Lady).

What about new logic/philosophy of maths books? It seems to have been a relatively thin year (or again, have I not been keeping up?). I have mentioned over the year a couple of new books by Jan von Plato. First, his introduction to and translation of Gentzen’s shorthand notebooks (which seems a major achievement — and of considerable interest even if the history of logic is not your primary concern). And second, his partial and opinionated (but therefore interesting and instructive) history of theories of deduction and computation. As I said before, the book retains the flavour of a thought-provoking and engaging lecture course, which makes for readability.

The other book I have highlighted here is Neil Tennant’s Core Logic, the result of some forty years of wrestling with entailment, the transitivity of entailment, the avoidance of explosion, and related matters. Some (many?) will think we should just keep things simple, allow that a contradiction entails anything, and not fuss. Neil has much to say about the gains in being fussy.

Just in the last few days I have got two newly published books, Cezary Cieśliński’s The Epistemic Lightness of Truth, and Elaine Landry’s edited collection Categories for the Working Philosopher (both, by the way, outrageously expensive, even after discounts). The latter seems to be a very mixed bag (of the three papers I’ve read, one bad, one no real news at all, and one very helpful). The former, however, looks good. If, like me, you are (a) interested in formal theories of truth, and (b) are inclined to some deflationist/minimalist view about truth according to which ‘It is true that p‘ shouldn’t get you much further than plain ‘p‘, then you will be very interested in  Cieśliński’s project: and the opening chapters are promisingly crisp and clear and accessible (though probably presuppose a bit more from the reader than the author thinks).

So what have I forgotten/overlooked? What are your logic/phil maths picks of 2017?

3 thoughts on “Logic books of the year?”

  1. Hmm, what are the new logic/phil math books I acquired (we’ll stick with ‘bought/acquired’ rather than ‘read’ for the time being…) in 2017?

    The History of Philosophical and Formal Logic: From Aristotle to Tarski edited by Alex Malpass and Marianna Antonutti Marfori — I’ve got a chapter in this one that I wrote so long ago, I was pleasantly surprised when my author copied arrived and I started re-reading my chapter. Hey, it’s actually not that bad! Quite interesting! My 6yo when she found out I’d written part of the book asked me to read to her, and let me read nearly 3 pages aloud!

    Logical Modalities from Aristotle to Carnap: The Story of Necessity by Max Cresswell and Adriane Rini — haven’t read it yet, but I will be reading it (and reviewing it for Studia Logica) in the coming months.

    History of Logic and Semantics ed. by Paloma Pérez-Ilzarbe — this one I’ve actually read (lots of really interesting, if dense, papers), and I’ll be putting my finishing touches on my review of it for Vivarium soon.

    Formal Approaches and Natural Language in Medieval Logic (Textes Et Etudes Du Moyen Age) by Laurent Cesalli — proceedings of ESMLS 2012.

    1. Interesting list!

      On Amazon UK, it looks like The History of Philosophical and Formal Logic: From Aristotle to Tarski will be available in paperback for £19.99 in February … 2019.

      Unfortunately, it looks like the others will remain prohibitively expensive unless reasonably priced used or discounted copies appear. (The one on Medieval Logic is being offered for £39.04 by Amazon US selling to the UK, which is more reasonable than the list price but still quite high.)

  2. How about John Stillwell’s Reverse Mathematics: Proofs from the Inside Out?

    While it is copyright 2018, it appeared at the very end of 2017, and I was able to order it from Amazon US on December 27th and have it sent to the UK. So if I’d been in the US, I could have had it in my hands before the year was out.

    It’s an introductory book written (it says) for a general mathematical audience (which seems about right) and is, so far as I know, the first and only introductory book on reverse mathematics.

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