Revue D’Histoire des Sciences 67 (2):185-205 (2014)

Amirouche Moktefi
Tallinn University of Technology
The development of symbolic logic is often presented in terms of a cumulative story of consecutive innovations that led to what is known as modern logic. This narrative hides the difficulties that this new logic faced at first, which shaped its history. Indeed, negative reactions to the emergence of the new logic in the second half of the nineteenth century were numerous and we study here one case, namely logic at Oxford, where one finds Lewis Carroll, a mathematical teacher who promoted symbolic logic, and John Cook Wilson, the Wykeham Professor of Logic who notoriously opposed it. An analysis of their disputes on the topic of logical symbolism shows that their opposition was not as sharp as it might look at first, as Cook Wilson was not so much opposed to the « symbolic » character of logic, but the intrusion of mathematics and what he perceived to be the futility of some of its problems, for logicians and philosophers alike.
Keywords Mathematical logic  Symbolism  Elimination  Oxford  Lewis Carroll  John Cook Wilson
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DOI 10.3917/rhs.672.0185
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References found in this work BETA

Introduction to Logic.Irving M. Copi - 1953 - Pearson/Prentice Hall.
What The Tortoise Said To Achilles.Lewis Carroll - 1895 - Mind 104 (416):691-693.
Universals.J. P. Moreland - 2001 - Mcgill-Queen's University Press.
Introduction to Logic.Alfons Borgers - 1961 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 35 (1):166.

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John Cook Wilson.Mathieu Marion - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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