Life and Works of Giovanni Vailati

In Arrighi Claudia, Cantù Paola, De Zan Mauro & Suppes Patrick (eds.), Life and Works of Giovanni Vailati. CSLI Publications (2009)

Paola Cantù
Università degli Studi di Genova
The paper introduces Vailati’s life and works, investigating Vailati’s education, the relation to Peano and his school, and the interest for pragmatism and modernism. A detailed analysis of Vailati’s scientific and didactic activities, shows that he held, like Peano, a a strong interest for the history of science and a pluralist, anti-dogmatic and anti-foundationalist conception of definitions in mathematics, logic and philosophy of language. Vailati’s understanding of mathematical logic as a form of pragmatism is not a faithful interpretation of Peano’s conception, but it is essential to understand the relations of Peano’s logic with other philosophical traditions and some epistemological aspects of Peano’s perspective, such as the search for a universal language.
Keywords Vailati  pragmatism  Peano  logic  history of science  philosophy of mathematics
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