Jason Rosenhouse

Jan 25, 2021

Games for Your Mind

The History and Future of Logic Puzzles

Princeton University Press 2020

purchase at bookshop.org

Jason Rosenhouse's Games for Your Mind: The History and Future of Logic Puzzles (Princeton UP, 2020) is about a panoply of logic puzzles. You’ll find Mastermind and sudoku discussed early on, and then you’ll be hit with an incredible array of some of the most intriguing logic puzzles that have ever been devised. Some will be familiar to you, but some will almost certainly be brain-teasers you have never heard of. It’s absolutely amazing what a truly deep field grew from recreational pastimes – and this book is an absolute treasure trove of stuff you can’t help thinking about. If you like logic, you’re certain to be sucked in – but you’ll enjoy the ride.

Logic puzzles were first introduced to the public by Lewis Carroll in the late nineteenth century and have been popular ever since. Games like Sudoku and Mastermind are fun and engrossing recreational activities, but they also share deep foundations in mathematical logic and are worthy of serious intellectual inquiry. Games for Your Mind explores the history and future of logic puzzles while enabling you to test your skill against a variety of puzzles yourself.

In this informative and entertaining book, Jason Rosenhouse begins by introducing readers to logic and logic puzzles and goes on to reveal the rich history of these puzzles. He shows how Carroll's puzzles presented Aristotelian logic as a game for children, yet also informed his scholarly work on logic. He reveals how another pioneer of logic puzzles, Raymond Smullyan, drew on classic puzzles about liars and truthtellers to illustrate Kurt Gödel's theorems and illuminate profound questions in mathematical logic. Rosenhouse then presents a new vision for the future of logic puzzles based on nonclassical logic, which is used today in computer science and automated reasoning to manipulate large and sometimes contradictory sets of data.

Featuring a wealth of sample puzzles ranging from simple to extremely challenging, this lively and engaging book brings together many of the most ingenious puzzles ever devised, including the Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever, metapuzzles, paradoxes, and the logic puzzles in detective stories.

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