George Boole: Selected Manuscripts on Logic and Its Philosophy (Google eBook)

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Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Gerard Bornet
Springer Science & Business Media, Apr 1, 1997 - Computers - 236 pages
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George Boole (1815-1864) is well known to mathematicians for his research and textbooks on the calculus, but his name has spread world-wide for his innovations in symbolic logic and the development and applications made since his day. The utility of "Boolean algebra" in computing has greatly increased curiosity in the nature and extent of his achievements. His work is most accessible in his two books on logic, "A mathematical analysis of logic" (1947) and "An investigation of the laws of thought" (1954). But at various times he wrote manuscript essays, especially after the publication of the second book; several were intended for a non-technical work, "The Philosophy of logic", which he was not able to complete. This volume contains an edited selection which not only relates them to Boole's publications and the historical context of his time, but also describes their strange history of family, followers and scholars have treid to confect an edition. The book will appeal to logicians, mathematicians and philosophers, and those interested in the histories of the corresponding subjects; and also students of the early Victorian Britain in which they were written.
  

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About the author (1997)

Born in Lincolnshire, England, George Boole was a mathematician and logician at Queens College in Cork, Ireland, where he taught and developed his theory of logic. Well respected by his friends and associates, he had a reputation of being a kind of naive saint, who thought nothing of inviting a stranger to his home to continue a conversation that the two of them had begun on a train or in a shop. Boole's development of symbolic logic had three major emphases. First, Boole believed that mathematicians of his day unnecessarily restricted themselves to the study of quantities and did not pay enough attention to abstract symbols. Second, he concerned himself with the relation between logic and language. Third, he studied the proper representation of mental operations. Thus, Boole moved from quantity to symbols to language and finally to the rules of the thinking mind itself. In 1847 Boole expressed his ideas in a pamphlet titled The Mathematical Analysis of Logic. Boole is remembered for using familiar symbols of algebra and arithmetic to help represent ideas of logic. The system he used is now known as Boolean algebra. In creating his algebra of logic, Boole followed in the footsteps of the classical algebraists. Through careful analysis and resourcefulness, he developed a practical language for representing and solving a broad class of mathematical problems. Boole's contributions can be seen today in the design of the modern digital computer. Boole died in 1864.

Ivor Grattan-Guinness is professor of the history of mathematics and logic at Middlesex University, England.

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