RAYMOND MERRILL SMULLYAN (/ˈsmʌli.ən/ ; May 25, 1919 – February 6, 2017) was an American mathematician, concert pianist, logician , Taoist and philosopher.
Born in Far Rockaway , New York, his first career was stage magic. He
then earned a
* 4 Selected publications
* 5 Bibliography * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 External links
Born in Far Rockaway, New York, he showed musical talent, winning a
gold medal in a piano competition when he was aged 12. The following
year, his family moved to
Smullyan is the author of many books on recreational mathematics and
recreational logic. Most notably, one is titled What Is the Name of
This Book? ISBN 0139550623 . A Beginner's Further Guide to
He was a professor of philosophy at
Many of his logic problems are extensions of classic puzzles. Knights and Knaves involves knights (who always tell the truth) and knaves (who always lie). This is based on a story of two doors and two guards, one who lies and one who tells the truth. One door leads to heaven and one to hell, and the puzzle is to find out which door leads to heaven by asking one of the guards a question. One way to do this is to ask "Which door would the other guard say leads to hell?". This idea was famously used in the 1986 film Labyrinth .
In more complex puzzles, he introduces characters who may lie or tell the truth (referred to as "normals"), and furthermore instead of answering "yes" or "no", use words which mean "yes" or "no", but the reader does not know which word means which. The puzzle known as "the hardest logic puzzle ever " is based on these characters and themes. In his Transylvania puzzles, half of the inhabitants are insane, and believe only false things, whereas the other half are sane and believe only true things. In addition, humans always tell the truth, and vampires always lie. For example, an insane vampire will believe a false thing (2 + 2 is not 4) but will then lie about it, and say that it is false. A sane vampire knows 2 + 2 is 4, but will lie and say it is not. And mutatis mutandis for humans. Thus everything said by a sane human or an insane vampire is true, while everything said by an insane human or a sane vampire is false.
His book Forever Undecided popularizes Gödel\'s incompleteness theorems by phrasing them in terms of reasoners and their beliefs, rather than formal systems and what can be proved in them. For example, if a native of a knight/knave island says to a sufficiently self-aware reasoner, "You will never believe that I am a knight", the reasoner cannot believe either that the native is a knight or that he is a knave without becoming inconsistent (i.e., holding two contradictory beliefs). The equivalent theorem is that for any formal system S, there exists a mathematical statement that can be interpreted as "This statement is not provable in formal system S". If the system S is consistent, neither the statement nor its opposite will be provable in it. See also Doxastic logic .
Inspector Craig is a frequent character in Smullyan's "puzzle-novellas." He is generally called into a scene of a crime that has a solution that is mathematical in nature. Then, through a series of increasingly harder challenges, he (and the reader) begin to understand the principles in question. Finally the novella culminates in Inspector Craig (and the reader) solving the crime, utilizing the mathematical and logical principles learned. Inspector Craig generally does not learn the formal theory in question, and Smullyan usually reserves a few chapters after the Inspector Craig adventure to illuminate the analogy for the reader. Inspector Craig gets his name from William Craig .
His book To Mock a Mockingbird (1985) is a recreational introduction to the subject of combinatory logic .
Apart from writing about and teaching logic, Smullyan has recently released a recording of his favorite classical piano pieces by composers such as Bach , Scarlatti , and Schubert . Some recordings are available on the Piano Society website, along with the video "Rambles, Reflections, Music and Readings". He has also written an autobiography titled Some Interesting Memories: A Paradoxical Life (ISBN 1-888710-10-1 ).
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Smullyan has written several books about Taoist philosophy , a philosophy he believes neatly solves most or all traditional philosophical problems as well as integrating mathematics , logic , and philosophy into a cohesive whole. One of Smullyan's discussions of Taoist philosophy centers on the question of free will in an imagined conversation between a mortal human and God.
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* (1978) What Is the Name of This Book? The Riddle of Dracula and
Other Logical Puzzles ISBN 0139550623 – knights, knaves, and other
* (1979) The
* (1977) The Tao is Silent ISBN 0060674695 * (1980) This Book Needs No Title ISBN 0671628313 * (1983) 5000 B.C. and other philosophical fantasies ISBN 0312295162
* (2002) Some Interesting Memories: A Paradoxical Life ISBN
* (2003) Who Knows?: A Study of Religious Consciousness ISBN
* (2009) Rambles Through My Library ISBN 9780963923165 , Praxis
* (2015) Reflections: The Magic, Music and
* (1961) Theory of Formal Systems ISBN 069108047X
* (1968) First-Order
* Is God a Taoist? by Raymond Smullyan, 1977. * Planet Without Laughter by Raymond Smullyan, 1980. * An Epistemological Nightmare by Raymond Smullyan, 1982.
* Biography portal
* ^ A B C D E F J J O'Connor and E F Robertson (April 2002).
"Smullyan biography". School of Mathematical and Computational
University of St Andrews