Jean van Heijenoort as historian of logic


Valentin A. Bazhanov


The article attempts to provide a rather concise overview of the life and work of Jean van Heijenoort (1912–1986) in the field of the history of logic. Information of a biographical nature is given, in which the scientist’s attitude towards Marxism is noted and his close cooperation with L.D. Trotsky in a certain period; disappointment in the key principles of the Marxist doctrine and especially its practical implementation, but the preservation of the general interest in this political trend. Based on some of the unpublished materials obtained from the American Mathematics Archive in Austin, Texas, van Heijenoort’s works in the field of the history of logic described. It is noted that he received a mathematical education as a geometer and a topologist, but his interests were transferred to logic, which, by the nature of its search for proof and the canons of reasoning, were close to geometry. Particular emphasis placed in the article on the circumstances of the work on the fundamental anthology of the development of logical thought "From Frege to Gödel", compiled and commented by van Heijenoort and a number of his colleagues. Attention paid to the fact that the algebraic direction of the development of mathematical logic remains outside the anthology. We describe the works of van Heijenoort relating to the incompleteness theorem, and the first two volumes of the collected works of K. Gödel in the early 1980s, interrupted by the death of van Heijenoort. The assessments of his colleagues on van Heijenoort’s legacyin the history of logic provided.




History of Logic


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