[FOM] : Logicomix

Irving ianellis at iupui.edu
Wed Apr 21 13:22:54 EDT 2010

Charles Silver asks, in response to Staffan Angere's post regarding 
Logicomix, if it's true.

I would say: that depends.

I would suggest that the authors appear to prefer a good story, which, 
in some cases, may lead to exaggeration, if not outright falsehood. 
Bertrand Russell's remarks, in his autobiography, depicting Cantor as 
insane, for example, has been accepted here, despite more recent, 
admittedly retrospective, analysis of Cantor's medical records at the 
Nervenklinik, and historian of mathematics Ivor Grattan-Guinness, 
relying on some of these, found Cantor to be eccentric, but hardly 
"mentally unstable" (see, e.g. Grattan-Guinness, "Towards a Biography 
of Georg Cantor", Annals of Science 27 (1971), 345–391). One of the 
authors of Logicomix, Christos Papadimitriou, readily admitted to the 
newspaper the Boston Globe that "at bottom it is an interesting yarn" 
and that the authors' "purpose was to tell a fascinating story" (see 
Hannah Martin, "Three to see, The Man of Logic", The Boston Globe 
(October 27, 2009);


Like any comic book, the personal characterizations, and even some of 
the "facts", I propose, should, then, be taken cum grano salis, to use 
this book with some discretionary caution, if not with a sizable dose 
of salt.

> Message: 3
> Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 09:28:32 -0500
> From: Charles Silver <silver_1 at mindspring.com>
> Subject: Re: [FOM] Logicomix
> To: Foundations of Mathematics <fom at cs.nyu.edu>
> Message-ID: <FC9C4BE9-CF56-43DA-B6B4-8085091848BE at mindspring.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed; delsp=yes
> 		   But is it *true*?
> On Apr 18, 2010, at 2:43 PM, Staffan Angere wrote:
>> I definitely enjoyed Logicomix. I'm not sure about the target
>> audience, but I've recommended it to all my strudents ever since i
>> read it last summer. In my opinion, it transmits the dram, passion
>> and intensity inherent in logic very well, ...
>> Staffan Angere
>> Lund University
----- End message from fom-request at cs.nyu.edu -----

Irving H. Anellis
Visiting Research Associate
Peirce Edition, Institute for American Thought
902 W. New York St.
Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5159
URL: http://www.irvinganellis.info

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