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From J.J.C. Smart to Arthur N. Prior on 16/05/1955

Editor’s note: The letter is in the Prior archive box 3 at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and has been transcribed and commented by David Jakobsen and Martin Prior.

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Letter from J.J.C. Smart to A.N. Prior,
May 16, 1955
1


16.5.55

Dear Arthur


Thnks for your letter. The experts here didn’t think tht the erythem nodosum
2

could have
possibly come from Mary and the children


the time ws too long go. I’m

wfully sorry I didn’t
mke tht quite cler; I don’t like the thought of Mry worrying. I lso hd  cht with the professor
here (strictly etween him nd me, nd the fct tht I hd it strictly etween you nd me; wouldn’t
want to [affect]
3

the suscept
ibilities of the practicing medical men!) He was reassuring. He said
most people hve hd this without erythem nodosum nd if I hdn’t hd the letter I’d proly
never have

had known [sic] about the lung

enlargement. He agrees with your man about present

dangers for Mary and the children. What a pity I cancelled my plane booking. It will be too late
now, nd perhps it is wise not to come on other grounds. I’ll e pretty usy in August, if ll goes
well, without conferences + ANZAAS
4

bu
t I must try and se
e if I can sl
ip over to Christchurch for a
few days at any rate then. (Especially if my X
-
ray is favorable.) I do wish I could see you more


what a
pity

these big distances are.


With due

respect for your superior judgment I wish you weren’t

lecturing on Time stuff for your
John Locke lecturers. As I see it the choice (after
Bouwsma
) of Quine, Wang
5
, Prior
,

matl. Logic. I
really wish your John Locke lecturers were on Modal Logic, many
-
valued systems, etc., including
your stuff on
Ł in J.

Comp
. Systems,
your
Turquette
6

[
and so on.
]
7

It is so aesthetically pleasing and
it is fundmentl sort of stuff. With your time stuff you’ll get involved in side issues, even stright
philosophy, nd not in the stuff tht will do Oxford most good. Tht’s

what I think. What does
Gilbert think? I really think that you should keep your best stuff for Oxford, and that I am inclined
to think is your modl logic stuff. (You’ll ring it in in the other, ut it won’t stnd out so netly).
Why not save the time di
stinction stuff for a small book, and keep the more (logically) fundamental
stuff for Oxford. Mind you, I’m proly wrong nd you right ut this is wht I think (very
strongly).
{new page}

Thanks for your proof of CLCMpp

LCMpLp

from CLCMpp

CMpLp. There wa
s a slip of the pen: you had

1. CLCMpp CMpLp




1

Editor’s note: The letter is in the Prior rchive ox 3 t the Bodlein Lirry in Oxford nd hs een trnscried nd
commented by David Jakobsen and Martin Prior.

2

Editors’ note: This is the most likely rendering of Smrt’s hndwriting.

Erethyma Nodosu
m is an inflammatory skin
condition that happily does not usually last too long.

3

Editors’ note: It is hrd to see wht Smrt writes here.

4

Editors’ note: The Austrlin & New Zelnd Assocition for the Advncement of Science.

5

Editors


note: Martin Prior notes here that due to
Mry, Mrtin nd Ann’s
tuberculosis
in 1954 Arthur’s lectureship
was deferred one year and Hao Wang took his place in 1954
-
55.

6

Editors’ note: Smrt is referring to: Turquette, A. R. Review: A. N. Prior, Modlity

de Dicto and Modality de re . J.
Symbolic Logic 20 (1955), no. 2, 167.

7

Editors’ note: The trnscription is not certin here.

2. CL Cpq CLpLq

1 x RL = 3

3. LCLMpp CMpLp

2 p/LCMpp q/CLpLq

4. CLLCMpp LCMpLp

It should be [referring to 3]
8

q/CMpLp

(I only mention this for proof reading purposes in case the same slip occurs in something
your

[sic]

publishing.)

The
P
rof. of medicine (strictly etween him nd me nd you nd me) doesn’t think I should tret
myself too much as an invalid. He thinks walks would be OK,
physical
jerks
, etc… ut proly
hockey. So I’ll get  little mild exercise
, not enough to get tired, and my moral
e

should rise again.
(Lack of exercise always has a bad psychological effect on me!).


Thanks very much for your kind investigations with your TB expert. What he said sounds very
much like what our Prof. of medicin
e

said. Anyway I very much appreciate it.


I find the example of page 9 of Kleen difficult to get the
rationale

of. Call the deduction in the
ottom of p. 90 ‘

’, tht on top of p. 91


then I’ve grsped his proof. 1


17 on p. 92.

….

But even

so I don’t quite figure it out. (Not tht there re 5 groupings ove corresponding to the
length 5 of the deduction of p. 87).

Yours Jack




8

Editors’ note: There is n rrow in the letter here.

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