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About Gotthard Günther

by Eberhard von Goldammer

Gotthard Günther was born 15.06.1900 in Arnsdorf (Germany). He studied Indology, Chinese, Philosophy and Sanskrit. His PhD was the first version of his book "Grundzüge einer neuen Theorie des Denkens in Hegels Logik" which was published in 1933.

In 1938 Günther followed his wife who already emigrated from Germany in 1933; via South Africa Günther immigrated 1940 to the USA.
From 1942-1944 he became lecturer at the Colby College (Maine) and from 1944 at the Cambridge Adult Education Center.

1948 he became citizen of the USA. At that time he met J.W.Campbell who introduced Günther into the American Science Fiction literature and its importance to the American culture. Günther published some metaphysical-logical stories in ´Astounding Science Fiction´ and in ´Startling Stories´.

Remark for the reader:
If you want to have a look at Günther's more speculative approaches within the science fiction context vordenker holds all articles in another web, the Gunther web focusing on that stuff!

On the International congress on Philosophy (Brussels, 1953) Günther presented the first version of his concept of a transclassical logic "Die philosophische Idee einer nicht-Aristotelischen Logik".

1957 Günther published "Das Bewußtsein der Maschinen - Eine Metaphysik der Kybernetik" and "Metaphysik , Logik und die Theorie der Reflexion" as well as "Die Aristotelische Logik des Seins und die nicht-Aristotelische Logik".

In 1960 Günther met Warren S. McCulloch and a deep friendship began which was very stimulating for Günther´s further research studies.

In 1961 Günther became a research professor at the Biological Computer Laboratory - BCL (Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana), where he was working until 1972. In that time Günther developed his fundamental ideas about Poly-Contextural-Logic, Morpho- and Kenogrammatics.

Some publications of that period are:

Cybernetic Ontology and Transjunctional Operations;
Das metaphysische Problem einer Formalisierung der transzendental-dialektischen Logik;
Logik, Zeit, Emanation und Evolution;
Natural Numbers in Trans-Classic Systems.

After his retirement in 1972 he was working on a theory of "Negative Formal Languages" (Hegel-Congress, Belgrad, 1979 : "Identität, Gegenidentität und Negativsprache").

Günther died in the age of 84 at 29.Nov.´84.


Günther G.: Idee und Grundriß einer nicht-Aristotelischen Logik, Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, 1978 (ISBN 3-7873-0392-8). This volume contains "Materialien zur Formalisierung der dialektischen Logik und der Morphogrammatik" by Rudof Kaehr.

Günther G.: Grundzüge einer neuen Theorie des Denkens in Hegels Logik, Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, 1978 (ISBN 3-7873-0435-5).

Günther G.: Beiträge zur Grundlegung einer operationsfähigen Dialektik (vol. 1-3), Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, 1976-1980.

Vol.1: 365 pages, ISBN 3-7873-0371-5

Vol.2: 336 pages, ISBN 3-7873-0462-2

Vol.3: 345 pages, ISBN 3-7873-0485-1.

Günther, G., in: Philosophie in Selbstdarstellungen II, Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, 1975.

Günthers work can be considered as a milestone for contemporary philosophy and for a theoretical basis for modern cybernetics and systems theory.

The Science Fiction Articles


Günther´s scientific life course was strongly influenced by his escape from the Nazi regime which resulted in a consequent planetary thinking that hardly can be observed from any other formerly German thinker.

The fact that we present some rarely known science fiction work from Günther was driven by Günther´s own view in which he looked at Cybernetics on one hand and on Science Fiction on the other hand as the two leading birth-points of a genuine American culture. To him sience fiction literature is a spiritual breakthrough of the American frontier mentality.

In the following we start with three articles about Zeno´s Paradox that were published first in ´Astounding Science Fiction´ (J.W.Campbell, ed.) in 1954 under the title "Achilles and the Tortoise".

Some further articles will follow soon, namely "The SEETEE Mind", "Aristotelian and Non-Aristotelian Logic", "The Soul of a Robot", and "The Thought Translator" (all published in ´Startling Stories´).