Tag Archives: History of Logic

Putnam On Schröder And Peirce

Spurred by a footnote in Peter Sullivan’s Frege’s Logic, I wanted to find out a bit more about Ernst Schröder.  His wikipedia page included a long excerpt from a Putnam paper, exhibiting a very different perspective on the history of logic than the usual.  Putnam’s paper was published in Historia Mathematica, then reprinted in Realism With A Human Face, which is available on Gigapedia. Since I’m poorly informed about the Boolean tradition, I’ll just present a selection of quotations in lieu of commentary:

“[Begriffschrift] is astonishing because it has no predecessors: it appears to have been born from Frege’s brain unfertilized by external influences.” Michael Dummett, Frege: Philosophy of Language.

A partial, and, perhaps, a somewhat dishonorable exception is Schröder.  Clearly offended by Frege’s neglect of existing work in logic, not least his own, the general drift of Schröder’s review is that Frege, working in naïve isolation, has achieved no more than to reinvent in cumbrous and eccentric form the Boolean wheel. But Schröder was too good a logician for his irritation to have altogether hidden from him the inadequacy of that verdict…” Sullivan, Frege’s Logic, fn 24.

“I assumed that everyone realized that with the appearance of a complete “algebra of classes” the dam was broken, and (given the mathematical sophistication of the age) the subsequent development was inevitable. It seemed inconceivable to me that anyone could date the continuous effective development of modern mathematical logic from any point other than the appearance of Boole’s two major logical works, the Mathematical Analysis and the Laws of Thought.” Putnam, Peirce the Logician