J. Michael Dunn

J. Michael Dunn

Oscar Ewing Professor Emeritus, Philosophy

Professor Emeritus, Computer Science

Professor Emeritus, School of Informatics

University Dean Emeritus, School of Informatics

Emeritus Faculty, Cognitive Science Program


  • Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1966
  • A.B., Oberlin College, 1963

About J. Michael Dunn

Michael Dunn passed away on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. He had been awarded grants from NSF, NEH, ACLS, and had visited, among other places, at the Australian National University, Oxford University, the University of Melbourne, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst . He was listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World. He was a winner of the Techpoint (Indiana Information Technology Association) Mira Award for Outstanding Information Technology Educator. He was awarded the IUB Provost’s Medal, and was made a Sagamore of the Wabash by the Governor of Indiana. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dunn's research focused on information based logics and relations between logic and computer science. He was particularly interested in so-called "sub-structural logics" including intuitionistic logic, relevance logic, linear logic, BCK-logic, and the Lambek Calculus. He developed an algebraic approach to these and many other logics under the heading of "gaggle theory" (for generalized galois logics), which is contained in a series of papers, his book with Gary Hardegree Algebraic Methods in Philosophical Logic (Oxford, 2001), and a book with Katalin Bimbó Generalized Galois Logics: Relational Semantics of Nonclassical Logical Calculi. (CSLI Publications, 2008). He had done recent work on the relationship of quantum logic to quantum computation and on subjective probability in the context of incomplete and conflicting information. He had a general interest in cognitive science and the philosophy of mind. Dunn had recently been honored by the book J. Michael Dunn on Information Based Logic, edited by Katalin Bimbo and appearing in Springer's series Outstanding Contributions to Logic. Further information, including the autobiography Dunn wrote, can be found in the “Front Matter” available online at https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-29300-4.


Selected publications

Presented "Natural Language versus Formal Language" as an invited speaker (together with Frederic Fitch, Bas van Fraassen, and *Richard Montague) in the joint symposium by that title of the Association for Symbolic Logic and the American Philosophical Association at their joint meeting, New York, December, 1969. It builds on material from his dissertation The Algebra of Intensional Logics, Univ. of Pittsburgh, 1966 (Director: Nuel D. Belnap), which also does "An Intuitive Semantics for First Degree Relevant Implications," contributed paper, meeting of the Association for Symbolic Logic, Chicago, May, 1967, (Abstract) "An Intuitive Semantics for First Degree Relevant Implications," Journal of Symbolic Logic, 36, 1971, pp. 362 363. And it is a precursor to "Intuitive Semantics for First-Degree Entailments and Coupled Trees," Philosophical Studies, 29, pp. 149-168.

For more information about the relationships of the items mentioned above, and to work by others (particularly, R. and V. Routley and N. Belnap) see his paper “Partiality and its Dual,” Partiality and Modality, eds. E. Thijsse, F. Lepage & H. Wansing, special issue of Studia Logica, Vol. 66, 2000, pp. 5-40. Another place to look is "Relevance Logic and Entailment," in Handbook of Philosophical Logic, vol. 3, eds. D. Gabbay and F. Guenthner, D. Reidel, Dordrecht, Holland, 1985, pp. 117-224, or the newer version “Relevance Logic” (with G. Restall), Handbook of Philosophical Logic, 2nd edition, vol. 6, eds. D. Gabbay and F. Guenthner, Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 1-128.