Historical and Philosophical Background

  • Erwin Engeler
Part of the Progress in Theoretical Computer Science book series (PTCS)


In the fall of 1928 a young American turned up at the Mathematical Institute of Göttingen, a mecca of mathematicians at the time; he was a young man with a dream and his name was H. B. Curry. He felt that he had the tools in hand with which to solve the problem of foundations of mathematics once and for all. His was an approach that came to be called “formalist” and embodied a technique that later became known as Combinatory Logic. Closest to his ideas was the work of Schönfinkel on the “building blocks of mathematical logic” [Sch24], and the man who best knew about this was Bernays, the main collaborator of Hilbert at Göttingen on the latter’s foundational programme. This is why Curry went there to submit his thesis [Cur30].


Algebraic Structure Universal Algebra Combinatory Model Combinatory Logic Lambda Calculus 
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© Birkhäuser Boston 1995

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  • Erwin Engeler

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