Philip Jourdain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Philip Jourdain
Philip Jourdain.jpg
Drawing by his sister Millicent (1909)
Born16 October 1879
Died1 October 1919 (1919-11) (aged 39)
OccupationEditor and mathematician
Spouse(s)Laura Jourdain
Parent(s)Emily Clay and Francis Jourdain

Philip Edward Bertrand Jourdain (16 October 1879 – 1 October 1919) was a British logician and follower of Bertrand Russell.

He was born in Ashbourne in Derbyshire[1] one of a large family belonging to Emily Clay and his father Francis Jourdain (who was the vicar at Ashbourne).[2] He was partly disabled by Friedreich's ataxia. He corresponded with Georg Cantor and Gottlob Frege, and took a close interest in the paradoxes related to Russell's paradox, formulating the card paradox version of the liar paradox.[2] He corresponded with Ludwig Wittgenstein, meeting with him in Cambridge to discuss Frege's book Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, parts of which Jourdain had prepared a translation. He also worked on algebraic logic, and the history of science with Isaac Newton as a particular study. He was London editor for The Monist. Near the end of his life he became increasingly obsessed by trying to prove the axiom of choice, and published several incorrect proofs of it. Littlewood (1986, p.129) describes Jourdain on his deathbed still arguing with him about his (incorrect) proof of the axiom of choice.

His sister Eleanor Jourdain was an English academic and author. Another sister, Margaret (1876–1951), was an authority on the history of fine English home-furnishings, and the life-long companion of the novelist Ivy Compton-Burnett.


The following works of Philip Jourdain are available from Internet Archive:

Jordain acted as editor for

Jourdain made the following translations:


  1. ^ *O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Philip Jourdain", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews
  2. ^ a b Turnbull archive accessed 7 December 2007

External links[edit]