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Critical notice Logical machines:

By Peirce On Psychologism and Majid Amini


Abstract This essay discusses Peirce’s appeal to logical machines as an argument against psychologism. It also contends that some of Peirce’s anti-psychologistic remarks on logic contain interesting premonitions arising from his perception of the asymmetry of proof complexity in monadic and relational logical calculi that were only given full formulation and explication in the early twentieth century through Church’s Theorem and Hilbert’s broad-ranging Entscheidungsproblem. In Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift relates that in his voyage to Balnibarbi Gulliver comes across a professor of the grand academy of Lagado who shows him a machine capable of improving and extending knowledge by ‘mechanical operations. ’ (Swift 1735: 195) The academician explains that ‘by his contrivance, the most ignorant person at a reasonable charge, and with a little bodily labour, may write books in philosophy, poetry, politicks, law, mathematicks and theology, without the least assistance from genius or study. ’ (Swift 1735

Year: 2011
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