Avicenna motivates two new logics (Wilfrid Hodges)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on March 14th from 4:15-6:15 (NY time) via Zoom for a talk by Wilfrid Hodges (Queen Mary).

Title: Avicenna motivates two new logics

Abstract: The logician Avicenna (Ibn Sina in Arabic) tells us that some thousand and twenty years ago he discovered a group of previously unknown logics. He seems to have been the first logician – at least west of India and after the ancient Greeks – who made any such claim. We will examine two of these new logics and his motivations for them. The first new logic, discovered in around 994 when Avicenna was about eighteen years old, was rediscovered by Boole in the mid 19th century. We will study some features of it that were important to Avicenna (and to some recent logicians) but apparently missed by Boole. The second new logic, probably from around 1000, seems to be the earliest logic with inference rules that act below the surface levels of the formulas. It was impossible to state the inference rules correctly before Frege introduced the notion of scope, but we will see how far Avicenna got.

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