Murtagh, T. N. F. Books

Jean CavaillÈs, a Philosopher in Time of War 1903-1944
2000 0-7734-7810-8
This poignant biography – by his sister – of the logician and Resistance hero, Jean Cavaillès, not only traces the itinerary of an exceptional destiny, it also restores the intellectual climate of a segment of French thought in the 1930's. The biography is based on Cavaillès' philosophical, religious and political concerns. In particular, the use made by Gabrielle Ferrières of her brother's letters demonstrates the essential unity of Cavaillès' thought, the man of action married to the philosopher of mathematics, the intellectual recluse of the Ecole Normale Supérieure allied to the dynamic leader of one of France's most famous Resistance networks. Historians of the French Resistance, philosophers of science, mathematicians involved in Set Theory, those interested in religious movements in pre-War Germany, all find something in the exemplary figure of Cavaillès. This translation of his sister's biography is most moving in its attempt to analyse the bonds that united brother and sister during France's darkest hours, fuelled as it is by an uncanny sense of foreboding that underlines its strictly literary merits.