Speaker: Joan Richards, Professor of History, Brown University
As Professor of Mathematics at University College London [UCL], Augustus De Morgan was a leader in England’s move towards becoming a secular society. UCL welcomed students independent of their religious commitments. At UCL, religion became a private concern, to be pursued at home; in the public world of the university, knowledge was to be pursued independent of religious convictions. Maintaining this division required absolutely fundamental adjustments in the views of knowledge of a world that heretofore had pursued all of knowledge as part of a unified religious whole
De Morgan kept his religious musings so private that even his wife could not characterize them, but his archive contains traces of his private thinkings. Notable among these is a series of logical diagrams, which he created for himself in the midst of his logical researches. Approaching De Morgan’s logical thinking through these private diagrams is a way to move beyond the public world of his written work into the world of transcendent insight that grounded his logical investigations. Their odd perspectives and wordless symmetries point to a transcendent and holy space that for decades grounded De Morgan’s logical explorations.
This event is free and open to the public.
This event is part of the New York History of Science Lecture Series.
New York University
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
Columbia University in the City of New York
City University of New York
The New York Academy of Sciences