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The Evolution of Principia Mathematica: Bertrand Russell's Manuscripts and Notes for the Second Edition Hardcover – Jul 11 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (July 11 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 110700327X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107003279
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 2.7 x 24.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 898 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,309,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"Linsky's book is important and very well done, and it is surprisingly accessible for a work dealing with some very technically detailed historical matters. It is essential reading for anyone working on the history and philosophy of mathematics. It is an exciting new contribution and a valuable resource for further work on Russell's philosophy of mathematics."
Gregory Landini, History and Philosophy of Logic

"Linsky has also included notes made during the preparation of Appendix B, which throw interesting light on Russell's thinking and on his working methods, together with a reconstruction of a manuscript entitled 'Hierarchy of propositions and functions' from which much of the new material in the second edition was derived."
Michael D. Potter, Mathematical Reviews

"... very valuable to scholars of Russell and to anyone interested in the development of type theory and indeed of logic as a whole during this time ... Linsky does a very good job of explaining the issues to the layman."
Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies

Book Description

Originally published in 1910, Principia Mathematica led to the development of mathematical logic and computers and thus to information sciences. This fascinating and insightful book includes transcriptions of previously unpublished material, with introductory chapters explaining the symbolic notation and content of Russell's revisions for the second edition in 1925.

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Format: Hardcover
Principia Mathematica (PM) was a three-volume work covering the foundations of mathematics. Written by Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead, their goal was to describe a set of axioms and rules of inference so that all mathematical truths could be derived. The three volumes were published in 1910, 1912 and 1913 and one of the primary inspirations was Russell’s defining a set that was internally contradictory.
Like all other works of mathematics, there were errors and improvements that could be made as well as new advances in mathematics that could be examined. As is generally the case, and what happened with PM is that a second edition was developed and published in 1925 and 1927. The purpose of this book is to shed light on the changes that were made, the work of others that necessitated a response and the thought processes that Russell went through as he made the changes to create the second edition.
Russell’s papers have been examined in detail so that the reader can learn the thought processes that Russell went through as he wrote the new material and made modifications to the content of the first edition. It is a look at Russell’s goals, motivations and the history of logic during the interlude between the two editions. Published mathematics tends to be extremely crisp and complete, while valuable, the path there is generally lost. Advances in mathematics build on what came before and it is often helpful to learn the sequence of thoughts that led to the polished result. In this case we see the evolution of the ideas and how they logically fall into sequence before they emerged in the finished form. Working mathematicians can see that the path to achievement is a meandering one, while the goal is clear, getting there involves a lot of weaving, bobbing, failure and recovery. Even for someone as talented as Bertrand Russell.

Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission
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