The logic of impossible quantities

David Sherry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In a ground-breaking essay Nagel contended that the controversy over impossible numbers influenced the development of modern logic. I maintain that Nagel was correct in outline only. He overlooked the fact that the controversy engendered a new account of reasoning, one in which the concept of a well-made language played a decisive role. Focusing on the new account of reasoning changes the story considerably and reveals important but unnoticed similarities between the development of algebraic logic and quantificational logic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-62
Number of pages26
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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