Sunday, February 14, 2010

For Further Reading, Logicomix

Logicomix is a graphic novel about Bertrand Russell's search for a fundamental base for mathematics. It's an excellent book, surprising many with how compelling and entertaining Russell's struggle with logic was. The story got me interested in issues of logic and mathematics. Unfortunately, most of the problems that Russell dealt with were far, far beyond my ability to understand, but I did find Godel's Proof , by Ernest Nagel and James Newman.

The presentation of Godel's incompleteness theorem was devastating to Russell's ideas, showing not only that the foundation that Russell helped create didn't work, but also that no mathematical foundations as understood by Russell and others could ever work.

Nagel and Newman do a great job explaining Godel's famous theorem and the challenging philosophical ideas it raises. They do so clearly and concisely without patronizing the less mathematically inclined. It's a fun and challenging read for anyone looking to explore more of the ideas in Logicomix.

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