David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Theoria 7 (1-2):473-498 (1992)
Dedekind used to refer to Riemann as his main model concerning mathematical methodology, particularly regarding the use of abstract notions as a basis for mathematical theories. So, in passages written in 1876 and 1895 he compared his approach to ideal theory with Riemann’s theory of complex functions. In this paper, I try to make sense of those declarations, showing the role of abstract notions in Riemann’s function theory, its influence on Dedekind, and the importance of the methodological principle of avoiding ‘forms of representation’ in shaping ideal theory. In order to emphasize the abstract viewpoint of Riemann and Dedekind, I compare their work with that of their great german contemporaries, Weierstrass and Kronecker; so, an influential ‘Göttingen group’ is confronted with the ‘Berlin school’ of mathematics. Some light is also thrown on the relation between Riemann and Dedekind, particularly with respect to Dedekind’s interest on Riemann’s ideas --in function theory, geometry and topology--, beginning in the 1850s and through later works. The abstract approach of the ‘Göttingen group’ was determinant for the turn to abstract mathematics in our century, and the direct influence of Riemann on Dedekind shows how this approach developed
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