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Islands of Sanity

By Peter Damian

Andreas Kolbe’s piece on Wikipedia versus Britannica went down pretty well, except for one commentator, who objected that “The projects in the science, logic, mathematics, and music are islands of sanity”.



Really? My own specialism is in the history of logic, particularly medieval logic. It’s a disaster area. I wrote last year about some vandalism to the article on the 13th century logician Duns Scotus, which said that in 2011 Scotus received an honour from the University of Oxford, “together with Lawrence of Arabia, Oscar Wilde, J.R.R. Tolkien and living University members Rupert Murdoch, Bill Clinton, Stephen Hawking and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck”. When I wrote that, nearly a year ago, I thought it would be immediately removed. Yet it’s still there. I also mentioned vandalism to the article on William Vorilong. That was removed, but there was more added quite recently, including the bizarre claim that Vorilong studied Japanese medieval philosophy, physics and astronomy. It’s still there, and see also the article on the Chinese Da Ming Hun Yi Tu map.

It can be speculated that one of the first people in Europe who consulted the map was William Vorilong, noted philosopher from England, who was shown the map while travelling with japanese visitor Yoshimitsu Kage.

Retrodeductive inference?


OK, you object that this is merely boring history, which no one cares about. The real stuff, on modern science and logic and mathematics and so on, is totally reliable. So let’s take a look at some of the articles on logic, starting with the flagship article. Right there in the introduction it says “Avicenna revived the study of logic and developed relationship between temporalis and the implication”. What does

…continue reading Islands of Sanity