Monday, September 28, 2009

Bertie Russell, comic-book hero!

Via 3QD, we get:
Well, this is unexpected — a comic book about the quest for logical certainty in mathematics. The story spans the decades from the late 19th century to World War II, a period when the nature of mathematical truth was being furiously debated. The stellar cast, headed up by Bertrand Russell, includes the greatest philosophers, logicians and mathematicians of the era, along with sundry wives and mistresses, plus a couple of homicidal maniacs, an apocryphal barber and Adolf Hitler. * * *

The story proper opens on Sept. 4, 1939, three days after the Nazi invasion of Poland. Bertrand Russell is giving a public lecture at an American university on the role of logic in human affairs. Angry isolationists in the audience challenge Russell to explain how logic could justify participating in a world war. Ah, he responds, but what is logic?
The review notes some gratuitous tinkering with facts, but still finds that it's a good read. Click through to see a page of Russell and Wittgenstein, arguing on a snowy stroll.

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