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Logic and Pragmatism

Selected Essays of Giovanni Vailati

Claudia Arrighi, Paola Cantú, Mauro de Zan, and Patrick Suppes

Logic and Pragmatism features a number of the key writings of Giovanni Vailati (1863–1909), the Italian mathematician and philosopher renowned for his work in mechanics, geometry, logic, and epistemology. The selections in this book—many of which are available here for the first time in English—focus on Vailati's significant contributions to the field of pragmatism. Accompanying these pieces are introductory essays by the volume's editors that outline the traits of Vailati's pragmatism and provide insights into the scholar's life.

Claudia Arrighi is an independent researcher. Paola Cantú is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Nancy. Mauro De Zan teaches philosophy and history in Crema, Italy and is the president of the Centro Studi Giovanni Vailati. Patrick Suppes (1922–2014) was the Lucie Stern Professor of Philosophy emeritus at Stanford University.


  • Preface ix
  • Translator's Notes xiii C. Arrighi
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • I Introductory Essays xix
    • Life and Works of Giovanni Vailati xxi P. Cantú and M. De Zan
    • Reflections on Vailati's Pragmatism lxix M. Caamano and P. Suppes
  • II Giovanni Vailati. Selected Essays 1
    • 1 On the Importance of Research Regarding the History of Science 3
    • 2 The Deductive Method as an Instrument of Research 23
    • 3 Some Observations on the Questions of Words in the History of Science and Culture 63
    • 4 The Diffculties Involved in a RationalClassification of the Sciences 93
    • 5 On the Logical Import of the Classification of Mental Facts Proposed by Franz Brentano 107
    • 6 On the Applicability of the Concepts of Cause and Effect in Historical Sciences 113
    • 7 The Aristotelian Theory of Definition 121
    • 8 The Most Recent Definition of Mathematics 137
    • 9 On the Meaning of the Difference Between Axioms and Postulates in Greek Geometry 145
    • 10 The Art of Asking Questions 153
    • 11 The Distinction Between Knowledge and Will 159
    • 12 Pragmatism and Mathematical Logic 163
    • 13 A Study of Platonic Terminology 173
    • 14 The Attack on Distinctions 187
    • 15 On Material Representations of Deductive Processes 197
    • 16 The Grammar of Algebra 205
    • 17 Language as an Obstacle to the Elimination of Illusory Contrasts 227
    • 18 The Origins and Fundamental Idea of Pragmatism 233 with Mario Calderoni
    • 19 Pragmatism and the Various Ways of Saying Nothing 249 with Mario Calderoni
  • III A Selected Bibliography 261
  • Index 275

April 2010

ISBN (Paperback): 9781575865904
ISBN (Electronic): 9781575867632
ISBN (Cloth): 9781575865911

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