Introduction to Logic Diagrams


Introduction to Logic Diagrams

Adressatenkreis: MA Phil: Modul I; Modul III; Modul V; AT Phil; weitere Interessierte
Ort: Hagen
Adresse: FernUniversität in Hagen,
Universitätsstraße 41, KSW4+5,
58084 Hagen
Termin: 09.12.2017 bis
Zeitraum: Sa, 9.12.17, 10:00-18:00
So, 10.12.17, 10:00-14:00
Leitung: Jean-Yves Béziau
Jens Lemanski
Amirouche Moktefi
Anmeldefrist: 01.12.2017

Course Summary

This is an introductory course on the history and philosophy of diagrammatic logic. Various diagrammatic systems will be sketched, especially square/hexagon of opposition, spatial diagrams (Euler-type, Venn-type) and also some linear diagrams, tabular diagrams, tree diagrams and graphs. The focus will be on the philosophical reasons and theoretical justifications that stimulated the invention and the adoption of diagrammatic systems of notation. We will also discuss the virtues of diagrams in comparison with symbolic notations as they were perceived in logics, philosophy, linguistics, computer science etc. The course will include study and discussion of key texts in the history of logical diagrams and of existing state-of-the-art results in various fields of research.

Prerequisite Knowledge

Attendees should have basic knowledge of elementary logic, for example by reading of a logic textbook (e.g. the Studienbriefe of Copi or Büttemeyer etc., or the moodle course for MI students) or by the below mentioned basic texts. No previous knowledge on diagrammatic logics is necessary. Students should be interested in diagrammatic logics from a historical, philosophical or professional perspective.

Course Outcomes

On completing the course, students should have a broad knowledge of the principal systems of diagrammatic representation (square/hexagon of opposition, Euler-type diagrams, Venn-type diagrams etc.) and they should be well placed to extend their knowledge in areas of particular interest.

Additional Event

Participants of the seminar are also invited to join the public conference "Mathematics, Logic and Language in Schopenhauer" (Hagen, 7th-8th december 2017) in which similar topics are to be discussed: (advance registration is requested).

Basic texts

Students are asked to read the following 3 texts which will be discussed during the course:

1) Leonhard Euler, Letters of Euler on Different Subjects in Natural Philosophy. Adressed to a German Princess / transl. and ed. By David Brewster, 2 vol. New York, 1833 (repr. 1837), vol. 1, 327-366 (L. XCIX-CIX).

2) John Venn, On the Diagrammatic and Mechanical Representation of Propositions and Reasonings, Philosophical Magazine, 10:59 (1880), 1-18.

3) Jean-Yves Béziau, “The Power of the Hexagon”, Logica Universalis, 6:1-2 (2012), 1-43.

Additional texts

The following texts are also recommended but their reading is not necessary to attend the course:

1) Lewis Carroll, The Game of Logic, London: Macmillan, 1887. German translation: Das Spiel der Logik, translated by Michael Zöllner, with a postface by Paul Good, Cologne: Tropen Verlag – Stuttgart: Frommann-Holzboog, 1998.

2) Amirouche Moktefi & Sun-Joo Shin, “A history of logic diagrams”, in Dov M. Gabbay, Francis Jeffry Pelletier & John Woods (eds.), Logic: A History of its Central Concepts, series Handbook of the History of Logic, vol. 11, Amsterdam: North-Holland, 2012, pp. 611-682

3) Sun-Joo Shin, The Logical Status of Diagrams, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

4) Martin Gardner, Logic Machines and Diagrams, New York 1958.

5) Jens Lemanski, "Periods in the Use of Euler-Type Diagrams", Acta Baltica Historiae et Philosophiae Scientiarum 5:1 (2017), 50–69.

6) Catherine Legg, "What is a Logical Diagram", in Sun-Joo Shin & Amirouche Moktefi (eds.), Visual Reasoning with Diagrams. Springer (2013), 1–18.

7) Francesco Bellucci & Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen, "Charles Sanders Peirce: Logic", in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP).


The seminar is limited to a maximum of 40 participants. Registration opens at 12 September 2017.


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Jens Lemanski | 12.09.2017
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