World Logic Day

Today is World Logic Day. Created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it was first celebrated in 2019.

Held annually on January 14th, World Logic Day was established to “bring the intellectual history, conceptual significance and practical implications of logic to the attention of interdisciplinary science communities and the broader public.” The celebration

aims at fostering international cooperation, promoting the development of logic, in both research and teaching, supporting the activities of associations, universities and other institutions involved with logic, and enhancing public understanding of logic and its implications for science, technology and innovation. 

According to Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO, the date of of January 14th was selected

in honour of two great logicians of the twentieth century: Kurt Gödel and Alfred Tarski. Gödel, who died on 14 January 1978, established the incompleteness theorem, which transformed the study of logic in the twentieth century. Tarski, who was born on 14 January 1901, developed theories which interacted with those of Gödel.

There’s some more information about the day here.

For World Logic Day I’ve gathered some logic-related posts from over the past few years at Daily Nous, starting with this:

Portraits of Logicians by Matt Leadbetter

These drawings of logicians, initially posted about here, are by Matt Leadbetter. They were commissioned by the Open Logic Project, the home of a collaborative, open source, “remixable” logic text. Speaking of logic texts, you may want to check out Jonathan Weisberg’s Odds & Ends  and David Manley’s Reason Better.

Many laypersons think of logic as a tool, and don’t realize it is an object of research and development, so it might be worth sharing, on World Logic Day, “The Enduring Evolution of Logic,” a guest post by Thomas Ferguson and Graham Priest. Some of logic’s development is illustrated in Joel Friedman’s “Mathematical Logic and Foundations, 1847-1947”:

Joel Friedman, “Mathematical Logic and Foundations, 1847-1947”

See this post for information about the chart and a link to clearer image of it.

Philosophy professors hope to improve their students’ logical thinking skills, discuss what to teach in introductory logic courses, and develop and test new ways of teaching students to assess arguments and reason well. Some show funny videos to illustrate errors in reasoning.

Outside the classroom, there are several resources that those who are eager to learn logic can avail themselves of, including Carnap, a free open-source multi-purpose multi-system logic program written by Graham Leach-Krouse, a site of randomly generated and self-correcting logic exercises developed by Ariel Roffé, and a smartphone game for gaining logical fluency called Andor, created by Matthias Jenny.

UNESCO says that logic can contribute to “a culture of peace, dialogue and mutual understanding, based on the advancement of education and science.” I’d only add that it can also help you impress your friends next time a logic problem goes viral.

Feel free to share your World Logic Day thoughts and plans.

Beyond the Ivory Tower. Workshop for academics on writing short pieces for wide audiences on big questions. Taking place October 18th to 19th. Application deadline July 30th. Funding provided.
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Matt LaVine
Matt LaVine
4 years ago

I’m all for the fact that logic has important “implications for science, technology, and innovation”. That said, I think we should focus a great deal more on the fact that logic can contribute to “a culture of peace, dialogue and mutual understanding”. So, my contribution is the three thoughts about logic/reason/rationality which have motivated me to think this more than any others:

“If you do not believe in the rational nature of the human being, you cannot believe that you can negotiate with him. If you do not believe that rational people ultimately desire peace, you cannot negotiate confidently with him toward goals you and he share. If you can’t negotiate with him, you are powerless to create peace. If you can’t organize around those beliefs, the principles cannot move from the minds of men into the actions of society.” (John Mohawk 1989, 221)

“…many exemplary moralists, including Socrates, Plato, Kant, Mill, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, showed by their teachings and actions a deep commitment to objectivity, the ethical value that motivates logic and is served by logic.” (John Corcoran 1989, 37)

““When men fight for their freedom, fight to be allowed to judge for themselves concerning their own happiness, isn’t it inconsistent and unjust to hold women down? I know that you firmly believe you are acting in the manner most likely to promote women’s happiness; but who made man the exclusive judge of that if woman shares with him the gift of reason?” (Mary Wollstonecraft 1792, 2)

Happy World Logic Day!