WFF 'N PROOF: The Game of Modern Logic


This set of 21 games taught principles of modern logic. Players learned to combine grammatically correct logical statements called well-formed formulae (WFFs) into logical proofs. WFF 'N Proof was developed by Layman E. Allan of Yale University Law School under a grant from the Carnegie Corporation for ALL (Accelerated Learning of Logic). Allen applied for a trademark for WFF ‘N Proof in August 1961; it was registered the following year but has now expired. The game sold from 1962.

The set includes 18 wooden cubes with small letters, representing sentences, and 18 with large letters, representing logical rules of inference. The simplest of the games in WFF ‘N Proof were designed to teach young children how to arrange these cubes on a series of paper mats to form WFFs. The remaining games were meant to teach how to argue logically. These games involve assuming the truth of WFFs of certain forms and concluding the truth of WFFs of other forms using logical rules of inference. Thus players proved theorems but did not use that terminology. The most advanced of these games were designed to challenge college students.

The set also includes a timer, a book of instructions written by Allen, WFF ‘N Proof: The Game of Modern Logic (New Haven: Autotelic Instructional Materials Publishers, 1970), and a leaflet describing "Games for Thinkers" from WFF 'N PROOF Publishers of Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. All these materials are stored in a plastic case that is marked on the cover: WFF'N PROOF (/) The Game of Modern Logic.

In 1968 Layman Allen moved from Yale to the University of Michigan with a joint appointment in the Law School and the Mental Health Research Institute, where he continued his work on instructional games. Over the years the name and location of the distributor of WFF ‘N Proof changed, although the phrase “Games for Thinkers” has been associated with it from before Allen’s move to Ann Arbor. Price lists in the WFF ‘N PROOF Newsletters (part of the documentation in accession 317891) indicate that at first the game was distributed by WFF ‘N PROOF in New Haven, Connecticut, and sold for $6.00. In 1970 the price was raised to $8.00 and in 1971 the game was distributed by WFF ‘N PROOF through Maple Packers in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. At some point a firm called Learning Game Associates of Ann Arbor took over distribution of the game and donated this example to the Smithsonian in 1975. Later the Accelerated Learning Foundation of Fairfield, Iowa, became the distributor.

Reference: Games For Thinkers Website.

Date Made: ca 1970

Developer: Allen, Layman E.Maker: Learning Games Associates

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Michigan, Ann Arbor

Subject: MathematicsGamesSchoolEducation


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Mathematics, Sputnik, Science & Mathematics


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Learning Games Associates

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MA.335302Accession Number: 317891Catalog Number: 335302

Object Name: game

Physical Description: plastic (overall material)paper (overall material)wood (overall material)Measurements: overall: 4 cm x 14.5 cm x 21.5 cm; 1 9/16 in x 5 11/16 in x 8 7/16 in


Record Id: nmah_694594

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