Quora answer: Who were the top ten most influential thinkers in the field of logic?

May 22 2014

What is the use of listing names? It is kinda silly since we can just go to wikipedia and get those lists. And Nine, forget any specific number because there have been thousands, but the some of the names listed in other answers are significant. The question is what is it that makes a thinker on logic’s work influential. What are the criteria? The main criteria is that they should profoundly change how we think about logic. Best example is Peirce. He has probably done more to change the way we think about logic than anyone else since Aristotle who created it for us in the West. But there has been so much work in logic over the last century that it is difficult to say who is most important. Fuzzy Logic is definitely important. Para-consistency of Priest is important. But perhaps the most important is G. Spencer Brown who along with Bricken and Hellerstien and Kauffman have created a boundary logic that is the logic of Masses to rival the Syllogistic Logic of Sets. But then also very important is August Stern and his Matrix Logic. There are now myriad deviant logics including Quantum Logic that are significant. Another major contribution was Higher Logical Type Theory of Russell. But also Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and his later retraction Philosophical Investigations and Philosophical Grammar drew a lot of attention to logic. Also there is Topos theory, which is about the Categorical representation of logic. There has been a lot happening in Logic over the last century. Logic is not what you think it is anymore. It is a whole field with multiple profound contributions. No standard list of names is going to capture that reality. A renaissance in Logic has occurred over the last century and everyone basically missed it. But eventually it will change the way we think about everything. An important contribution to this was the book Life Itself by Robert Rosen where he shows that causal and inference structures can be analyzed categorically into entailment structures and that these are more complex than we bargained for, complex enough to let biology into the science that includes physics without appeal to vitalism. Lots going on there to learn about, think about and use as a tool for making our theorizing better.

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