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On the Foundations of Science (LIVRO)

Essays, First Series

Newton C. A. da Costa e Francisco Antonio Doria

A Portrait

The distinguished-looking gentleman slowly assesses the audience that fills up the auditorium and wryly smiles. He is of medium height, with closely-cropped hair where amid the white strands one can still find the fair color of his youth. He wears large glasses that barely hide his olive-colored eyes. He dresses informally, in an unremarkable way.

He looks in the middle sixties; it is April 7, 2008, and he will soon start his lecture to the students and faculty massed at Coppe’s main lecture hall. Professor Newton da Costa looks a bit over sixty; he will turn 80 in 2009.

Da Costa again surveys the audience, and starts talking. The tone is conversational; he delivers his lecture in a peripathetic way, while marching to and fro. He jokes with the audience from time to time. The talk is deep; yet, its tone is always amusing and refreshing, lighthearted. At the end of it the audience stands up in a single movement and starts a Niagara of applause.

Newton da Costa is the foremost latin-american logician. He is best-known for his development of paraconsistent logics and their applications, but his interests range from foundational issues in the sciences to applications of his ideas in the realm of artificial intelligence. A former professor of mathematics and of philosophy at USP and Unicamp, Newton da Costa is a member of several top-ranking scientific associations such as the celebrated Institut International de Philosophie, in Paris, and, in Brazil, the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy.

The audience that applauded him enthusiastically at the end of his lecture did so to thank Newton da Costa for a wonderful talk, but also to honor an important, influential scientist of our times. The present collection of essays wishes to honor Newton da Costa on his coming 80th anniversary.

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