, Volume 50, Issue 3-4, pp 421-455

The origin of relation algebras in the development and axiomatization of the calculus of relations

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The calculus of relations was created and developed in the second half of the nineteenth century by Augustus De Morgan, Charles Sanders Peirce, and Ernst Schröder. In 1940 Alfred Tarski proposed an axiomatization for a large part of the calculus of relations. In the next decade Tarski's axiomatization led to the creation of the theory of relation algebras, and was shown to be incomplete by Roger Lyndon's discovery of nonrepresentable relation algebras. This paper introduces the calculus of relations and the theory of relation algebras through a review of these historical developments.