Wittgenstein's Lectures on the Foundations of Mathematics: Cambridge, 1939 / Edition 1

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Overview


For several terms at Cambridge in 1939, Ludwig Wittgenstein lectured on the philosophical foundations of mathematics. A lecture class taught by Wittgenstein, however, hardly resembled a lecture.

He sat on a chair in the middle of the room, with some of the class sitting in chairs, some on the floor. He never used notes. He paused frequently, sometimes for several minutes, while he puzzled out a problem. He often asked his listeners questions and reacted to their replies. Many meetings were largely conversation.

These lectures were attended by, among others, D. A. T. Gasking, J. N. Findlay, Stephen Toulmin, Alan Turing, G. H. von Wright, R. G. Bosanquet, Norman Malcolm, Rush Rhees, and Yorick Smythies. Notes taken by these last four are the basis for the thirty-one lectures in this book.

The lectures covered such topics as the nature of mathematics, the distinctions between mathematical and everyday languages, the truth of mathematical propositions, consistency and contradiction in formal systems, the logicism of Frege and Russell, Platonism, identity, negation, and necessary truth. The mathematical examples used are nearly always elementary.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Peter T. Geach, A.C. Jackson, and K. Shah kept meticulous notes from the last formal course that Wittgenstein taught at Cambridge in 1947. To preserve the actual words of Wittgenstein, this volume compiles all three sets of notes with no attempt to conflate or edit them beyond rendering them into lucid English. Topics covered by the notes in this volume include the private language argument, the grammar of sensation statements, certainty and experimentation in psychology. No index. No bibliography. Reprint of the Cornell U. Press 1976 edition. Using notes taken by four students, Diamond, (philosophy, U. of Virginia) has reconstructed thirty-one lectures given by Ludwig Wittgenstein in 1939. The result is a clearer exposition of Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics than can be found in the manuscript selections published as Remarks on the foundations of mathematics. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226904269
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1989
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Sales rank: 571,548
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author


Cora Diamond is professor of philosophy at the University of Virginia.
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Table of Contents


Preface
The Lectures, I-XXXI
Index
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2001

    Wittgenstein at his best

    This set of 31 lectures is very well compiled and illustrates Wittgenstein's post-Tractatus views brilliantly. In fact, I think this text makes understanding Wittgenstein's 'Philosophical Investigations' even easier than the Blue and Brown books. Of particular interest in this text is the dialogue between Wittgenstein and Alan Turing(of WWII Enigma code fame and considered to be the father of modern computing). Buy this now!

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