Nerlim: a Master Bibliography Style that Allows Books to have both Authors and Editors

If you’re using BibTeX and LaTeX and are doing any kind of scholarly/humanistic work, I’m sure you’ve run into this annoying problem: BibTeX always complains when a book has both an author and an editor. That’s a problem when, say, you want to include

Gödel, K., 1986. Collected Works, vol. I. S. Feferman et al., eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

There is a wonderful package that allows you to generate new BibTeX bibliography styles based on a large number of customization options: custom-bib.  It comes with one big master bibliography style merlin.mbs from which your custom style is generated. I’ve produced a modified file which will also print both author and editor for a book that has both. 

Merry Christmas.

Halbach & Visser: Self-reference in arithmetic

New in the Review of Symbolic Logic (part 1, part 2)

A Gödel sentence is often described as a sentence saying about itself that it is not provable, and a Henkin sentence as a sentence stating its own provability. We discuss what it could mean for a sentence of arithmetic to ascribe to itself a property such as provability or unprovability. The starting point will be the answer Kreisel gave to Henkin’s problem. We describe how the properties of the supposedly self-referential sentences depend on the chosen coding, the formulae expressing the properties and the way a fixed points for the formulae are obtained. This paper is the first of two papers. In the present paper we focus on provability. In part II, we will consider other properties like Rosser provability and partial truth predicates.

More on Shatunovsky, Kagan, and Yanovskaya

In response to my post about “lesser known Russian/Soviet logicians“, Lev Beklemishev commented:

Dirk van Dalen was interested in Shatunovsky’s work and at his request I procured a copy of his book on the development of algebra on the basis of what can be called rudimentary constructivist ideas. This was, of course, pre-Brouwerian, and the ideas of Shatunovsky were perhaps more in line with Kronecker’s. In any case, this was interesting to see, but it never came to a publication on it with Dirk.

Yanovskaya was his most well-known student, and she was well-respected among the mathematical logicians in Moscow, for whom she effectively provided some sort of ideological cover in the later years. She worked at the department of mathematics at MSU and is well-remembered there.

A good informative article on Shatunovsky is his obituary written by Chebotarev and published, I think, in Uspekhi matematicheskih nauk [link].

By email, Mark van Atten wrote:

A marginal note: There was a brief epistolary exchange between Kagan and Brouwer. They had been put in contact by Mrs Ehrenfest-Afanassjewa. Kagan’s letter to Brouwer of June 22, 1922 can be found in The Selected Correspondence of L.E.J. Brouwer (ed. Van Dalen, Springer 2011), pp. 290-291. In that letter Kagan also mentions Schatunowsky (as he, writing in German, spells it) and the latter’s work on the development of algebra without the excluded middle.

The date as given by Van Dalen there is 1925. The online-edition of the correspondence at, which contains all of Brouwer’s remaining correspondence (but untranslated), contains that letter twice, once dated 1922, once 1925. 1922 seems to me to be correct as Ehrenfest-Afanassjewa’s request to Brouwer to send some material to Kagan was made in that year.

That online edition also includes a short second letter from Kagan, dated Feburay 8, 1925 (on Alexandrov and Urysohn, but without specifically scientific content).

The online edition mentions Shatunovsky once more, in a letter from Alexandrov to Brouwer of March 15, 1927. Commenting on a paragraph in a letter from Brouwer to him, apparently lost, of December 27 [1926], Alexandrov writes: `Im Absatz 8 äussern Sie mir Ihre Meinung über den unsinnigen Artikel von Schatunowski. Da diese Meinung im Stillen auch immer die meinige war, sah ich keinen Grund mich irgendwie dazu zu äussern, und habe mich begnügt, dieselbe an Frau Ehrenfest zur gefälligste Kenntnisnahme mitzuteilen.’

Alas, the online edition contains no mention of Schönfinkel.

Lev responded:

This is an interesting exchange. Is there a way to find out which paper of Shatunovsky was mentioned by Brouwer and Alexandroff as non-sensical? In any case, this assessment could actually be true. From a rather superficial reading of his long work I got the impression that it was a specific way of presenting rather ordinary algebra, without anything revolutionary, accompanied by an introduction stating some philosophical pre-constructivist motivations. The case for doing all this was not a very strong one. But it could well be that they mention some other work that could be either more or less non-sensical that this.

By the way, Kagan was the grandfather of Yakov Sinai, this year’s Abel laureate.  I have just watched his interview where he told some story about his grandfather and his friend Shatunovsky from their time in Odessa. Apparently he knows a lot about their lives! These coincidences are quite curious…

Mark responded to Lev’s question:

The edition of Brouwer’s correspondence does not carry an annotation on this point, unfortunately. Perhaps an educated guess can be made from a full bibliography. Is there one?

The interview Lev mentioned is on youtube. It’s in Russian, and Google Translate didn’t do a very good job on the transcript, probably because of missing punctuation. I’m attaching it here in case someone wants to play with it.

Some Lesser Known (to me) Russian/Soviet Logicians

I’m working on a paper that features Moses Schönfinkel, so I was reading through a manuscript of his where he rattles off a long list of important logicians.  In addition to the usual suspects, it features the names “Schatunowski, Sleschinski, Kahan, Poretski.”  I spent the better part of a day trying to figure out to whom he was referring:

Samuil Osipovich Shatunovsky (1859-1929) was a mathematician working in Odessa who, so Wikipedia, “independently from Hilbert, he developed a similar axiomatic theory and applied it in geometry, algebra, Galois theory and analysis.”

Ivan Vladislavovich Sleshinsky (1854-1931), or Jan Śleszyński in Polish, was an analyst who also wrote on logic who worked in Odessa, where Schönfinkel was his student, and later Krakow. He also translated Couturat’s book The algebra of logic into Russian.

Platon Sergeevich Poretsky (1846-1907) worked on Boolean algebraic logic, teaching in Kazan. He’s credited with being the first mathematician to teach logic in Russia.

Kahan was a little harder to track down, but apparently Kahan is an alternative transcription of Ка́ган:

Veniamin Fedorovich Kagan (1869-1953) was a geometer and expert on Lobachevsky, who studied in Odessa, Kiev, and St. Petersburg, and worked in Moscow. He grew up in the same city as Schönfinkel, Yekaterinoslav (now Dnipropetrovsk).

In the process of googling about I also happened on Sofya Aleksandrovna Yanovskaya (1896-1966). She studied in Odessa at the same time as Schönfinkel and, like him, was a student of Shatunovsky. She was active in the revolution, and earned a doctorate in 1935 from Moscow State University, where she taught from 1931. In 1943 she founded the the seminar in mathematical logic. According to some sources, she became the first chair of the newly created Department for Mathematical Logic in 1959, however, others as well as the webpage of the institute have A. A. Markov as the first chair, 1959-1979.  From this biography, in addition to her teaching and research in mathematics, she was influential in other interesting ways:

Her work in history and philosophy of mathematics included preparation of a Russian edition of Marx’s mathematical manuscripts and the study of Marx’s philosophy of mathematics, as well as more general study of philosophy of mathematics. She was interested, for example, in the history of the concept of infinitesimals and her work along these lines included a study of Rolle’s contributions. She also paid special attention to the role of Descartes, and in particular to his La Géométrie, in the development the axiomatic approach to mathematics. Her contributions to history and philosophy of logic included work on the problematics of mathematical logic, including problematics related to cybernetics. In the latter regard, an example can be found in the Russian translation of Alan Turing’s essay “Can A Machine Think?”, which she edited, and in whose introduction she contributed to the discussion of problems in the philosophical aspects of cybernetics through her original analysis of the comparison of the potentialities of man versus machine. She was also instrumental in acquainting Soviet logicians with the work of their Western colleagues through the translation program which she organized, that included the textbooks on mathematical logic of Hilbert and Ackermann, Goodstein, Church, Kleene, and Tarski, and for which she provided important interpretive introductions. She also wrote important and massive historical-expository surveys of Soviet work in mathematical logic and foundations of mathematics.

A special issue of Modern Logic was devoted to her life and work on the occasion of her centenary in 1996; it includes highly interesting articles on her work as well as some smaller biographical items (all open access). Another interesting paper is here.

UPDATE: Follow-up here.

Graduate Programs in Philosophical Logic

Shawn Standefer has done us all a great service by starting and populating a Wiki of PhD programs in Philosophical Logic!

This wiki provides an unranked list of PhD (and (eventually) terminal M.A.) programs that have strengths in philosophical logic. Links are provided to the websites, CVs, and PhilPapers profiles of the relevant faculty at each program. Additionally, when known, the specialities and willingness of faculty members to work with new graduate students are noted. The primary intended audience is prospective or current graduate students with interests in philosophical logic who want to get the lay of the land by seeing who works where, and on what. This wiki is modeled on Shawn A. Miller’s wiki.

It’s a wiki, so you can edit it: add programs, faculty in your program, edit your own specialities, add a link to your PhilPapers page, etc.!

One person's modus ponens…

…is another’s modus tollens.

[W]hen I was nine years old, I came down with scarlet fever. […] During that year there was nothing in the world which I wanted so much as a bicycle. My father assured me that when I got well I would get one but, childlike, I interpreted this as meaning that I was not going to get well.

Julia Robinson, in: Constance Reid, The Autobiography of Julia Robinson. The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 17, No. 1, (1986), pp. 3-21

Adolf Lindenbaum

Jan Zygmunt and Robert Purdy have a paper (“Adolf Lindenbaum: Notes on his Life, with Bibliography and Selected References“, open access) in the latest issue of Logica Universalis detailing what little is known about the life of Adolf Lindenbaum (1904-1941). It includes a complete bibliography of Lindenbaum’s own publications and public lectures, as well as a bibliography of articles in which results are credited to Lindenbaum.  Another paper on Lindenbaum’s mathematical contributions is in the works.

The entire issue is dedicated to Lindenbaum. Jean-Yves Beziau gives this poignant quote in the introduction:

A mathematician, a modern mathematician in particular, is, as it would be said, in a superior degree of conscious activity: he is not only interested in the question of the what, but also in that of the how. He almost never restricts himself to a solution tout court of a problem. He always wants to have the most ??? solutions. Most what? The easiest, the shortest, the most general, etc.
Lindenbaum was murdered by the Nazis in 1941, at age 37.

Kennedy's Interpreting Gödel Out Now

Interpreting Gödel: Critical Essays, edited by Juliette Kennedy, was just published by Cambridge. It looks extremely interesting, with an all-star cast of contributors:

  1. Introduction: Gödel and analytic philosophy: how did we get here? Juliette Kennedy
    Part I. Gödel on Intuition:
    2. Intuitions of three kinds in Gödel’s views on the continuum, John Burgess
    3. Gödel on how to have your mathematics and know it too, Janet Folina
    Part II. The Completeness Theorem:
    4. Completeness and the ends of axiomatization, Michael Detlefsen
    5. Logical completeness, form, and content: an archaeology, Curtis Franks
    Part III. Computability and Analyticity:
    6. Gödel’s 1946 Princeton bicentennial lecture: an appreciation, Juliette Kennedy
    7. Analyticity for realists, Charles Parsons
    Part IV. The Set-theoretic Multiverse:
    8. Gödel’s program, John Steel
    9. Multiverse set theory and absolutely undecidable propositions, Jouko Väänänen
    Part V. The Legacy:
    10. Undecidable problems: a sampler, Bjorn Poonen
    11. Reflecting on logical dreams, Saharon Shelah.