[FOM] blind logicians and mathematicians

catarina dutilh cdutilhnovaes at yahoo.com
Thu May 21 03:52:18 EDT 2009

Dear all,

Here is a somewhat unconventional question: is anyone aware of there being or having been professional blind logicians or mathematicians? (Of a certain standing, of course.) I mean literally blind, or severely visually impaired as the  politically correct term has it. 

My motivation for posing this question is the investigation on cognitive aspects involved in the practices of logic (and mathematics) that I am currently undertaking. One hypothesis that has come up so far is that logic (and perhaps mathematics, but to a lesser extent) is essentially a *visual* enterprise, appealing to our visual cognitive capacities. So the question of whether there have been or are blind logicians (or mathematicians) is immediately an important one from this perspective, even though it might seem awkward in first instance. If there is such a person, it would be extremely interesting to see whether he or she works in ways that are fundamentally different from logicians with full use of their visual abilities; if there isn't such a person, then this fact may seem to give some support to the hypothesis that logic is essentially a visual enterprise.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation!

Catarina Dutilh Novaes


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