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Henry M. Sheffer and Notational Relativity

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Henry M. Sheffer is well known to logicians for the discovery (or rather, the rediscovery) of the ‘Sheffer stroke’ of propositional logic. But what else did Sheffer contribute to logic? He published very little, though he is known to have been carrying on a rather mysterious research program in logic; the only substantial result of this research was the unpublished monograph The General Theory of Notational Relativity. The main aim of this paper is to explain, as far as possible (given the scanty evidence), the nature of Sheffer's program, and the reasons for its failure. The paper concludes with a discussion of Sheffer's only true logical descendant, C.H. Langford, and his contributions to model theory.
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Keywords: C.H. Langford; Henry M. Sheffer; notational relativity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Computer Science,University of Toronto, TorontoOntario, Canada

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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