News from March 2002


I seem to be the 10th search result on AltaVista for "unthinking unmanned criticized submarine teletype." What on earth could this mean?


Who wrote this?

Theories of new types of inference, ignored or misunderstood by the traditional logic, have at the same time been discovered and worked out with true mathematical elegance. No one can debar mathematicians from staking claims to all that can be treated in terms of mathematical form and method. Only if one is ignorant of the modern science of mathematics, particularly of formal mathematics, and measures it by the standards of Euclid or Adam Riese, can one remain stuck in the common prejudice that the essence of mathematics lies in number and quantity. It is not the mathematician, but the philosopher, who oversteps his legitimate sphere when he attacks the `mathematicizing' theories of logic, and refuses to hand over his temporary foster-children to their natural parents. The scorn with which philosophical logicians like to speak of mathematical theories of inference, does not alter the fact that the mathematical form of treatment is in their case (as in the case of all strictly developed theories in the proper sense of this word) the only scientific one, the only one that offers us systematic closure and completeness, and a survey of all possible questions together with the possible forms of their answers.

If the development of all true theories falls in the mathematician's field, what is left over for philosophers? Here we must note that the mathematician is not really the pure theoretician, but only the ingenious technician, the constructor, as it were, who, looking merely to formal interconnections, builds up his theory like a technical work of art. As the practical mechanic constructs machines, without ultimate insight into the essence of nature and its laws, so the mathematician constructs theories of numbers, quantities, syllogisms, manifolds, without ultimate insight into the essence of theory in general, and that of the concepts and laws which are its conditions.

Inspired hunches, informed guesses, or definite answers are invited at discussion group.


The Chronicle's article on Letters of Recommendation -- a purely academic form of writing with conventions like no other. It's especially difficult here, where we have to deal with American letters of recommendation with their hyperbole along with much more understated English letters. References from Australians probably fall somewhere in between these two. A couple of my colleagues here will have to read a number of these quite soon, in the quest to find my replacement in the department.


That's been a long hiatus, hasn't it?

Life's been extremely busy, and I've been enjoying doing other things: almost everything other than posting on this website. I might get back into the swing of posting things here sometime, however. No promises yet, though.


I’m Greg Restall, and this is my personal website. I am the Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews, and the Director of the Arché Philosophical Research Centre for Logic, Language, Metaphysics and Epistemology I like thinking about – and helping other people think about – logic and philosophy and the many different ways they can inform each other.


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