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  If A then B: How the World Discovered Logic (M. Shenefelt and H. White)

If A then B: How the World Discovered Logic (Michael Shenefelt and Heidi White)

This unusual but compelling 2013 book is not a logic textbook, but rather a social history of the development of logic. The dominant trend in histories of logic is to focus on individuals and the history of ideas. Very few try to connect the rise of particular logical systems and ideas to the broader social, cultural, political or geographical contexts from which they emerged, but that is what the authors try to do.

The authors are philosophers, not historians or logicians. Social histories of this sort tend to draw criticism from subject matter experts, and I can see openings for objections in several areas.

I'm not in a position to critically assess the social history, but I found the discussion refreshing and enlightening. I strongly support attempts like this to bring logic into closer contact with the humanities and social sciences. I think students would respond well to classroom discussions on the themes of this book.