Cambridge: University Press, 1925. 3 vols. 8vo. xiii, , 666; xxxiv, 772; x, 491 pp., including half-titles. FIRST EDITION. Errata leaf in each volume. Original blue cloth, exteriors faintly rubbed and spine of first volume a bit shaken, still an excellent set in an open-end box. Volumes 1 and 2 with Whitehead’s presentation note on the first blank, “S.M.W. from A.N.W.” and the bookplate of South-west Essex Technical College and School of Art Library. Item #16207
First edition of all three volumes, and extremely scarce. John Slater, in his introduction to Bertrand Russell (ABMR, Jan. 1988), notes that less than fifty copies now survive in private hands.
The greatest single contribution to logic to appear in the two thousand years since Aristotle was the result of the collaboration of two great philosophers and mathematical logicians, Whitehead (1861-1947) and Russell (1872-1970). Inspired by Giuseppe Peano's and Gottlob Frege's invention of a new ideography for use in symbolic logic (which contradicted the Kantian doctrine of a separate philosophy of mathematics), the authors attempted to set up a still better system of logic on which to base mathematics. This effort reached its climax with the publication in 1910-13 of the three-volume Principia mathematica, now considered a historic masterpiece of mathematical architecture.