Wittgenstein and finitism

Synthese 105 (2):141 - 176 (1995)
In this paper, elementary but hitherto overlooked connections are established between Wittgenstein's remarks on mathematics, written during his transitional period, and free-variable finitism. After giving a brief description of theTractatus Logico-Philosophicus on quantifiers and generality, I present in the first section Wittgenstein's rejection of quantification theory and his account of general arithmetical propositions, to use modern jargon, as claims (as opposed to statements). As in Skolem's primitive recursive arithmetic and Goodstein's equational calculus, Wittgenstein represented generality by the use of free variables. This has the effect that negation of unbounded universal and existential propositions cannot be expressed. This is claimed in the second section to be the basis for Wittgenstein's criticism of the universal validity of the law of excluded middle. In the last section, there is a brief discussion of Wittgenstein's remarks on real numbers. These show a preference, in line with finitism, for a recursive version of the continuum.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA
    Similar books and articles

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    23 ( #63,373 of 1,088,907 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,666 of 1,088,907 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.