Raymond Smullyan

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Oskar45
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Raymond Smullyan

Unread postby Oskar45 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:45 am

In [the possibly quite unlikely] case you are interested in logic puzzles - this Grand Master of them all, now aged 90+!, has just published a delightful new volume, "The Gödelian Puzzle Book" [Dover 2013]. As the title implies, the book centres around Gödel's Theorems [1931], most certainly the outstanding results in mathematical logic so far [although there are several attempts to refute Gödel, or even Cantor]. Anyhow, the book is entertaining and mind-stretching, a joy!

Warning Should you have read all of his previous popular puzzles books before [starting with "What is the name of this book?", Prentice-Hall 1978; my favourite is "To mock a mockingbird", Knopf 1985] or all of his purely mathematical books [starting with "Theory of formal systems", Princeton UP 1961; my favourite is "Diagonalization and Self-Reference", Oxford UP 1994] - ok, there are certainly overlaps between all of them and his latest. But as he introduces a few new twists here and there, gives a complete proof of Gödel's Theorems [in the form of popular puzzles!] and provides a host of generalizations never published before, it is certainly worthwhile to get this new book as well :-)
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mia
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Re: Raymond Smullyan

Unread postby mia » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:19 am

I've read most of his previous books, how difficult is this new one?
:Onyx2:

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Re: Raymond Smullyan

Unread postby Oskar45 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:46 am

mia wrote:I've read most of his previous books, how difficult is this new one?

As I've read all of his [philosophical, puzzle, mathematical] books, I'd say it's much less formal than his "Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems" [Oxford UP 1992]. In fact, while concepts like self-reference or fixed points certainly play a crucial role here [after all, they are at the heart of Gödel's theorems], he introduces them very gently with variations of his "Knights & Knaves", "The Island of Robots" or "The Monte Carlo Lock" puzzles. Of course, having at hand, e.g., his "Diagonalization and Self-Reference" [Oxford UP 1994] - which is my favourite because of the best introduction to combinatory logic I know of - would help you a lot.

In summary - the book will pose quite a few delightful problems to you, but no unsurmountable difficulties; it's not harder than any of his previous puzzle books. If you enjoy that sort of stuff - go and get it :-)
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Re: Raymond Smullyan

Unread postby Oskar45 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:28 am

For the few of you who like stuff like this - he has done it again: "A Beginner's Guide to Mathematical Logic" [Dover 2014]. To be sure, it's quite different from, say, Leary's "A friendly Introduction to Mathematical Logic" or Mendelson's "Introduction to Mathematical Logic". But it's a sheer delight and more enjoyable than either!

BTW, if you know his puzzle books [IMHO, they're the best there're]: I also really recommend his "Logical Labyrinths" [A.K. Peters 2009] which serves as a bridge from them to his technical writings. Track it down, by all means!

BUT: R.S. has turned 95 (sic!) recently - and, still, he is planning on several sequels! Most amazing...

Finally, just for fun - a simple puzzle:

A certain dealer in used SGI-boxes currently has 56 boxes for sale. Each box is either a Tezro or an Indigo. You are given the following two facts:

(1) At least one of the boxes is an Indigo.
(2) Choosing any two of the boxes, at least one of the two is a Tezro.

Now suppose he, very moderately, sells Tezros at $300 per box and Indigos at $100 per box, and he manages to sell all 56 boxes. How much does he earn?
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theinonen
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Re: Raymond Smullyan

Unread postby theinonen » Sat Aug 09, 2014 9:22 am

About $16600

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Re: Raymond Smullyan

Unread postby Oskar45 » Sun Aug 10, 2014 3:25 am

theinonen wrote:About $16600
:-)
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Re: Raymond Smullyan

Unread postby Oskar45 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:19 am

Sorry for being late - but I found out just now that he died in February [aged 97]. Not that too many of you will be familiar with that name - he got his doctorate under Church, and he was arguably among the greatest logicians of the 20th centuary.

I have all of his books - logic puzzles (e.g., "To mock a mockingbird"), philosophy (e.g., "The Tao is silent"), academic (e.g., "Diagonalization and Self-Reference"; I'm a logician myself). Grab them for sheer delight!

Ironically, in the preface of his last book he wrote "I felt that at my age I could pass away at any time". Sadly, he was right.
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Re: Raymond Smullyan

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:14 pm

:-(

I just finished To Mock A Mockingbird, too ...
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