John Venn

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John Venn

John Venn Junior (born August 4, 1834 in Kingston upon Hull , † April 4, 1923 in Cambridge ) was an English mathematician and Anglican clergyman.

Live and act

Venn was born in Kingston upon Hull to Martha Venn (nee Sykes) and the pastor and social reformer Henry Venn . He grew up with two sisters, Henrietta and Susan. His mother passed away when he was three years old. Venn was descended from a long line of evangelical clergy, including his grandfather, John Venn Sr. , who campaigned for the abolition of slavery . John Venn Junior followed his family tradition and became an Anglican pastor. He first worked in Cheshunt , Hertfordshire and later in Mortlake , Surrey . Venn attended in London the Highgate School . From 1853 to 1857 he studied at Gonville and Caius College , Cambridge . In 1858 he was ordained in Ely as a deacon and in 1859 as a priest of the Church of England . In 1862 he returned as a university lecturer to Cambridge and devoted himself under the influence of works by Augustus De Morgan , George Boole and John Stuart Mill of logic and probability theory .

As a professor of logic and natural philosophy , Venn taught in Cambridge for over 30 years. From around 1890 he was primarily concerned with the history of his university.

Venn tried to link the inductive and methodological logic he developed himself with the deductive and formalistic logic of William Rowan Hamilton . Following Leonhard Euler , he continued the graphical representation of the categorical statements of the class logic ( Venn diagrams ). He coined the term symbolic logic . He also investigated problems of modal logic .

Together with his son John Archibald Venn he was editor of the reference book Alumni Cantabrigienses .

Venn was the first to work out the frequency conception of probability in the form of a mathematical theory. His ideas on probability theory were later taken up and further developed by Hans Reichenbach .


  • The Logic of Chance , 1866
  • On some of the characteristics of belief scientific and religious . London / Cambridge: Macmillan 1870
  • The foundations of chance , 1872
  • Consistency and real inference . Mind 1 (1), 1876, pp. 43–52
  • On thediagrammatic and Mechanical Representation of Prepositions and Reasonings , in: Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, July 1880
  • Symbolic logic . London: Macmillan 1881
  • The principles of empirical logic , 1889
  • The Biographical History of Gonville and Caius College, 1349-1897
  • Sermons 2nd volumes, 3rd edition; Reprint: Nabu Press , 2010, ISBN 978-1-175-34900-2 .


Web links

Commons : John Venn  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. John Venn. In: Retrieved August 4, 2014 .
  2. ^ John J. O'Connor, Edmund F. RobertsonJohn Venn. In: MacTutor History of Mathematics archive .
  3. John Venn. In: Soylent Communications, accessed August 4, 2014 .