The basic Venn diagram is both elegantly simple—three overlapping circles that intersect to create eight distinct areas—and conceptually innovative. Devised by English logician John Venn — to visually represent complex logical propositions and algebraic statements, the diagrams drew the excited interest of both scholars and the general public. In Cogwheels of the Mind, statistician and geneticist A. Edwards provides an accessible and engaging history of the Venn diagram, its reception and evolution, and its presence in such objects and images as Christian iconography, tennis balls, and flags which provide a rich source of Venn diagrams for Edwards, including those of Switzerland, Poland, and Japan all one-set Venn diagrams , Greenland a two-set Venn diagram , and Maryland a three-set device. Edwards discusses the rival diagrammatic scheme invented by Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, who also developed a board game based on his design. And he delineates the possibilities for expanding the analytic power of these diagrams far beyond those first appreciated by Venn.
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Cogwheels of the Mind