Columbia University Press, June, 2013
MICHAEL SHENEFELT and HEIDI WHITE
Examining a variety of mysteries, such as why so many branches of logic (syllogistic, Stoic, inductive, and symbolic) have arisen only in particular places and periods, If A, Then B is the first book to situate the history of logic within the movements of a larger social world.
"This is a fascinating story of one of our most abstract yet foundational
disciplines. The result is an insightful and wonderfully readable
exploration of an essential part of human rationality at work. Highly
recommended." — Lloyd Carr, Rivier University
"Michael Shenefelt and Heidi White's book is great fun for people who enjoy
ideas. It is full of provocative claims about a variety of topics, but
Shenefelt and White's positions are not just provocative. They are also
perceptive and intriguing, and they are supported by often ingenious
arguments." — Phil Washburn, New York University
. . .
WHILE logical principles seem timeless, placeless, and eternal, their
discovery is a story of personal accidents, political tragedies, and broad
social change. If A, Then B begins with logic’s emergence twenty-three
centuries ago and tracks its expansion as a discipline ever since. It
explores where our sense of logic comes from and what it really is a sense
of. It also explains what drove human beings to start studying logic in the
Logic is more than the work of logicians alone. Its discoveries have
survived only because logicians have also been able to find a willing
audience, and audiences are a consequence of social forces affecting large
numbers of people, quite apart from individual will. This study therefore
treats politics, economics, technology, and geography as fundamental factors
in generating an audience for logic—grounding the discipline’s abstract
principles in a compelling material narrative. The authors explain the
turbulent times of the enigmatic Aristotle, the ancient Stoic Chrysippus,
the medieval theologian Peter Abelard, and the modern thinkers René
Descartes, David Hume, Jeremy Bentham, George Boole, Augustus De Morgan,
John Stuart Mill, Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, and Alan Turing.
Examining a variety of mysteries, such as why so many branches of logic
(syllogistic, Stoic, inductive, and symbolic) have arisen only in particular
places and periods, If A, Then B is the first book to situate the history of
logic within the movements of a larger social world.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
MICHAEL SHENEFELT has a doctorate in philosophy from Columbia University and
began teaching logic after having worked previously as a newspaper reporter.
He is also the author of The Questions of Moral Philosophy.
HEIDI WHITE has a doctorate in philosophy from the New School for Social
Research and a master’s degree in the history of ideas from the University
of Texas at Dallas. She teaches philosophy and intellectual history and is a
former U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer.
Both authors teach Great Books at New York University’s Liberal Studies
Paper, 352 pages, 18 illus.
$29.50 / £20.50
Cloth, 352 pages, 18 illus.
$89.50 / £62.00
Anyone who uses the promo code “IFASHE” to purchase the paperback edition of the book from the CUP site will receive a 30% discount: