Mathematical logic: Tool and object lesson for science

Synthese 62 (2):139 - 151 (1985)
Abstract
The object lesson concerns the passage from the foundational aims for which various branches of modern logic were originally developed to the discovery of areas and problems for which logical methods are effective tools. The main point stressed here is that this passage did not consist of successive refinements, a gradual evolution by adaptation as it were, but required radical changes of direction, to be compared to evolution by migration. These conflicts are illustrated by reference to set theory, model theory, recursion theory, and proof theory. At the end there is a brief autobiographical note, including the touchy point to what extent the original aims of logical foundations are adequate for the broad question of the heroic tradition in the philosophy of mathematics concerned with the nature of the latter or, in modern jargon, with the architecture of mathematics and our intuitive resonances to it.
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