Skip to main content

Poretsky, Platon Sergeevich


(b. Elisavet-grad [now Kirovograd], Russia, 15 October 1846; d. Joved, Grodno district, Chernigov guberniya, Russia, 22 August 1907) mathematics, astronomy.

The son of a military physician, Poretsky graduated from the Poltava Gymnasium and from the Physical-Mathematical Faculty of Kharkov University; in 1870 he was attached to the chair of astronomy to prepare for a professorship. For several years Poretsky worked as an astronomer-observer at the Kharkov observatory and, from 1876, at Kazan University, where he conducted observations of stars in the Kazan zone according to the program of the International Astronomical Society. In 1886 he defended a thesis for his master’s degree, the theoretical portion of which dealt with reducing the number of unknowns and equations for certain systems of cyclic equations that occur in practical astronomy. For this work he was awarded a doctorate in astronomy. In the same year Poretsky became Privatdozent at Kazan University and in 1887–1888, for the first time in Russia, he lectured on mathematical logic, in which he had become interested soon after going to Kazan through the influence of A. V. Vasiliev.

From 1882 to 1888 Poretsky was secretary and treasurer of the Physical-Mathematical Section of the Kazan Society of Natural Science, supervising the publication of its Proceedings; for several years he edited a liberal newspaper, Kazansky telegraf, sometimes publishing in it his translations of Pierre Béranger’s poems. At the beginning of 1889 poor health forced Poretsky to retire, but he continued his research in mathematical logic for the rest of his life.

Poretsky’s main achievement was the elaboration of the Boolean algebra of logic; he considerably augmented and generalized the results obtained by Boole, Jevons, and E. Schröder. In papers published from 1880 to 1908, Poretsky systematically studied and solved many problems of the logic of classes and of propositions. He developed an original system of axioms of logical calculus and proposed a very convenient mode of determining all the conclusions that are deducible from a given logical premise, and of determining all possible logical hypotheses from which given conclusions may be deduced. He also applied the logical calculus to the theory of probability. Poretsky was the first eminent Russian scholar in mathematical logic. His research was continued by E. Bunitsky, Couturat, Archie Blake, and N. Styazhkin.


A nearly complete list of Poretsky’s writings is in the work by Styazhkin (see below), 291–292.

Secondary literature includes A. Blake, Canonical Expressions in Boolean Algebra (Chicago, 1938); L. Couturat, L’algèbre de la logique (Paris, 1905); D. Dubyago, “P. S. Poretsky,” in Izvestiya Fiziko-matematicheskogo obshchestva pri (Imperatorskom) kazanskom universitete, 2nd ser., 16 (1908), 3–7; and N. I. Styazhkin, Stanovlenie idei matematicheskoy logiki (Moscow, 1964), ch. 6, sec. 2, trans. into English as History of Mathematical Logic From Leibniz to Peano (Cambridge, Mass., 1969).

A. P. Youschkevitch

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Poretsky, Platon Sergeevich." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . 23 Apr. 2019 <>.

"Poretsky, Platon Sergeevich." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . (April 23, 2019).

"Poretsky, Platon Sergeevich." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Retrieved April 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.