Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Quine's Mathematical Logic revisited

I recently unpacked a box of old books that I'd stored away in the garage, which included my missing copy of Quine's Mathematical Logic. I've just found myself (re)reading the first part -- that's the initial hundred pages on propositional and quantificational logic. And it's mostly still a great read -- though I do wonder how on earth anyone got to think that Principia style dots were a great idea for bracketing?! The brief end-of-section historical notes are sometimes particularly interesting. So actually, I'd recommend any beginning graduate student brought up on natural deduction and/or trees to spend a morning zipping through these chapters, both for the historical perspective they bring, and also to prompt some thoughts about what's gained and what's lost by doing things the modern ways.

I rather wish I'd found my copy before I sent off the revised version of IFL to the press. I might well have stolen a sentence here and an example there! Oh well, next time ...

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