For He’s a Jolly Good Logical Winner

While we are guilty of using the term ‘logic’ rather flippantly in conversation, often synonymously with ‘common sense’, it must be known that it is a rather serious, fundamental field of research. And there are researchers deep in the pursuit of logic spread across various disciplines, from Philosophy and Mathematics to Computer Science, Linguistics and Cognitive Sciences and more. However in general, there is no specialized department of Logic present in universities. In a sense, it was out of this need to spread awareness of logic and to “foster interaction between logicians working in one university, in one country, in the world”, that the project titled  ‘A Prize Of Logic In Every Country’ was born. There are various countries participating in this project – Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Turkey, Russia, India, Italy, Iran, Mexico, Poland, and Paris, to name a few. Each country awards a prize in logic (often named after a famous logician) to a researcher who then gets an opportunity to have the winning paper published in the journal Logica Universalisand is invited to participate in UniLog – World Congress and School on Logic.

Indian Logic Prize Winner

In India, we have the Bimal Krishna Matilal Prize for Logic, named after the eminent logician who was well versed in Indian logic and western/modern logical theories in equal measure. Interestingly enough, he was also the founder editor of the Journal of Indian Philosophy. The 2018 BK Matilal prize, typically awarded biennially has gone to Dr. Jolly Thomas for his paper: “Developing Metalogic to Formalize Ontological Disputes of the Systems in Metaphysics by Introducing the Notion of Functionally Isomorphic Quantifiers”. This prize supports Prof. Thomas’ participation in Uni-Log 2018 by providing him with housing as well as the required registration fee. In addition to this, his award-winning paper will be published in Logica Universalis, Birkhäuser.Dr. Jolly Thomas is a visiting Asst. Prof with the Centre for Exact Humanities.

Uni-log 2018

As per the handbook of the First World Congress and School on Universal Logic (2005), “Universal logic …is a way of unifying (this) multiplicity of logics by developing general tools and concepts that can be applied to all logics.” It goes on to explain that Universal logic can also be seen as a toolkit for producing a specific logic required for a given situation, e.g. a paraconsistent deontic temporal logic.

As the title suggests, Uni-Log is not just a conference meant for interactions between logicians around the world but also “the first world school on universal logic”. The tutorials conducted at this makeshift school aim to “present general techniques useful for a comprehensive study of the numerous existing systems of logic and useful also for building and developing new ones.” In fact, it is meant to give a solid background for future research to any aspiring researcher interested in logic, artificial intelligence, mathematics, philosophy, linguistics and related fields.

The previous editions of this conference have seen participation of more than 400 logicians from about 50 different countries. For the 6th edition of Unilog that will take place in Vichy, France in June between 16-20, a similar format will be followed:

– A school of logic of 5 days with 30 tutorials

– A congress of 6 days with about 30 sessions/workshops

– Award of Logic Prizes from about 10 countries

– A secret speaker (speaker whose identity is revealed only at the time of speech).

The Winning Paper

Talking about the content of his paper, Dr. Jolly Thomas first explains quantifiers like some, something, some of and others like all, everyone, everythingand so on. He terms the former as existential quantifiers and the latter as universal quantifiers. Dr. Thomas then explains a paradox generated by Bertrand Russell where to deny the existence of something, you have to first presuppose that it exists. For example, in the sentence, “Unicorns don’t exist”, the sentence denies the existence of a non-existing thing. However the sentence itself is meaningful and true. Thus, it seems to accept that the non-existing thing exists. “This is the paradox of non-existence or non-being. As similar to the paradox of non-existence, I am trying to generate a paradox in my paper by considering the concept of spatiotemporality of the things. As a resolution to this paradox I regard spatiotemporality as a quantifier that can function like the existential quantifier some, “ concludes Dr. Thomas.

Sarita Chebbi has been a stay-at-home mom of two for the longest time. When she’s not painstakingly documenting heirloom recipes from her mom into a tattered diary, she can be found on the yoga mat, trying to impress her family with her pretzel poses. She also likes to nit-pick on the written word.

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