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Hao Wang.

Logician and Philosopher

Charles Parsons and Mongomery Link, eds.

Hao Wang (1921-1995) was a prolific researcher and
writer in mathematical logic, computer science, and
philosophy. He is known for the close relation he
developed with Kurt Gödel during the last decade of the
latter's life and the two books about Gödel that he
published after Gödel's death. This volume of essays
covers to some extent each of these fields of Wang's
activity but with greatest emphasis on philosophy.

Wang spent the first twenty-five years of his life in China
and continued to identify himself as Chinese, and in later
years he returned to China several times. The volume
adds to the picture of the Chinese side of Wang and his
engagement with the intellectual life of his own country
during a turbulent period. Wang's writings in Chinese
are surveyed, and two translations are included of short
essays on two Chinese scholars, his teacher Jin Yuelin
and his friend from student days He Zhaowu, as well as
a short memoir of Wang by He, written shortly after
Wang's death.

Another writing of Wang published for the first time is
an edition with introduction of an exposition by Wang of
Gödel's views on sets and concepts. Essays on Wang
and his work include a memoir of collaboration with him
on Gödel's philosophy by Eckehart Köhler, an account of
two classic contributions to computer science and logic
by Martin Davis, and essays by Abner Shimony on his
distinctive view of the nature and method of philosophy
and by Juliet Floyd on his reflections on the philosophy
of Wittgenstein, who fascinated Wang partly because of
the contrast between his views and Gödel's.

2 November 2011


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