Archive | July 2011

Delightful Summer Reading

Apologies for the lack of updates! In my defense, I’ve been rather busy in an attempt to finish the drafts of not only one, but two, novels. The first of these is about bananas, puns and slapstick humour while the second is heavily influenced by my interest in logic and incompleteness. Over the course of the summer I’ve also been doing a fair amount of reading. The two non-fiction books that I’m currently digging my teeth in are The World of Mathematics and Logic, Logic and Logic.

The World of Mathematics is a vast collection of essays (the Swedish edition, Sigma, consists of six volumes in total!) spanning topics such as biographies of the great thinkers, historical problems and also more recent investigations of the foundations of mathematics. Highly recommended, and as a bonus it looks great in the bookshelf.

Logic, Logic and Logic is a collection of articles by the prominent logician-philosopher George Boolos. The bulk of the text is dedicated to various papers on Frege, that among other things sheds light of the importance of his Begriffsschrift. You probably knew that Frege’s life work was demolished when Bertrand Russel presented his infamous paradox in a letter to him, but surprisingly enough it has been found that a rather large portion of it can be salvaged by very small means. The end result is a consistent, second order theory of arithmetics that in some ways is much more elegant than the usual Peano axiomatic formulation (these are instead derived). The fine details are not always that easy to follow, but Boolos’ interesting philosophical remarks makes it worthwhile in the end. Also recommended!

If time permits, I’ll also revisit Computing With Logic by David Maier and David S. Warren. For some reason I left it half unfinished when I read it the last time. It more or less contains everything you need to know about the theory and practice to implement a reasonably efficient Prolog system (excluding parsing), and could potentially serve as inspiration for a few blog entries in a not-so-distant future.