In a ground-breaking essay Nagel contended that the controversy over impossible numbers influenced the development of modern logic. I maintain that Nagel was correct in outline only. He overlooked the fact that the controversy engendered a new account of reasoning, one in which the concept of a well-made language played a decisive role. Focusing on the new account of reasoning changes the story considerably and reveals important but unnoticed similarities between the development of algebraic logic and quantificational logic.
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