It is a well-known fact of mathematical logic, by now developed in considerable detail, that formalized mathematical theories can be ordered by relative interpretability, and the "strength" of a theory is indicated by where it stands in this ordering. Mutual interpretability is an equivalence relation, and what I call an ordering is a partial ordering modulo this equivalence. Of the theories that have been studied, the natural theories belong to a linearly ordered subset of this ordering.
As the history of analytic philosophy is written, Gottlob Frege sits among the pantheon, one of the core creators of a novel way of philosophical thinking. It is a way of thinking that is notably infused with logical and semantic insights that are original to Frege. The source of these insights is well known. They arise in the context of logicism, Frege’s mathematical project that unfolded in a body of thought punctuated by three seminal works, Begriffsschrift of 1879, Die Grundlagen (...) der Arithmetik of 1884, and the two volumes of Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, published in 1893 and 1903. In these works, Frege sets out to show that arithmetic can be reduced to logic; more technically, that (a version of) the Peano-Dedekind axioms are derivable as theorems in a definitional extension of impredicative second-order logic. To achieve this goal, Frege introduced both a new logic and a new semantics; the conceptual apparatus that Frege brought to bear in these works, and in an accompanying series of classic essays, including most famously “On Sense and Reference,” has animated philosophical thought ever since. (shrink)
The transcendental aesthetic -- Arithmetic and the categories -- Remarks on pure natural science -- Two studies in the reception of Kant's philosophy of arithmetic: postscript to part I -- Some remarks on Frege's conception of extension -- Postscript to essay 5 -- Frege's correspondence: postscript to essay 6 -- Brentano on judgment and truth -- Husserl and the linguistic turn.
Machine generated contents note: Part I. General: 1. The Gödel editorial project: a synopsis Solomon Feferman; 2. Future tasks for Gödel scholars John W. Dawson, Jr., and Cheryl A. Dawson; Part II. Proof Theory: 3. Kurt Gödel and the metamathematical tradition Jeremy Avigad; 4. Only two letters: the correspondence between Herbrand and Gödel Wilfried Sieg; 5. Gödel's reformulation of Gentzen's first consistency proof for arithmetic: the no-counter-example interpretation W. W. Tait; 6. Gödel on intuition and on Hilbert's finitism W. W. (...) Tait; 7. The Gödel hierarchy and reverse mathematics Stephen G. Simpson; 8. On the outside looking in: a caution about conservativeness John P. Burgess; Part III. Set Theory: 9. Gödel and set theory Akihiro Kanamori; 10. Generalizations of Gödel's universe of constructible sets Sy-David Friedman; 11. On the question of absolute undecidability Peter Koellner; Part IV. Philosophy of Mathematics: 12. What did Gödel believe and when did he believe it? Martin Davis; 13. On Gödel's way in: the influence of Rudolf Carnap Warren Goldfarb; 14. Gödel and Carnap Steve Awodey and A. W. Carus; 15. On the philosophical development of Kurt Gödel Mark van Atten and Juliette Kennedy; 16. Platonism and mathematical intuition in Kurt Gödel's thought Charles Parsons; 17. Gödel's conceptual realism Donald A. Martin. (shrink)
Kurt Gödel made many affirmations of robust realism but also showed serious engagement with the idealist tradition, especially with Leibniz, Kant, and Husserl. The root of this apparently paradoxical attitude is his conviction of the power of reason. The paper explores the question of how Gödel read Kant. His argument that relativity theory supports the idea of the ideality of time is discussed critically, in particular attempting to explain the assertion that science can go beyond the appearances and ‘approach the (...) things’. Leibniz and post-Kantian idealism are discussed more briefly, the latter as documented in the correspondence with Gotthard Günther. (shrink)
In Mathematical Thought and Its Objects, Charles Parsons examines the notion of object, with the aim to navigate between nominalism, denying that distinctively mathematical objects exist, and forms of Platonism that postulate a transcendent realm of such objects. He introduces the central mathematical notion of structure and defends a version of the structuralist view of mathematical objects, according to which their existence is relative to a structure and they have no more of a “nature” than that confers on them.
I consider different versions of a structuralist view of mathematical objects, according to which characteristic mathematical objects have no more of a 'nature' than is given by the basic relations of a structure in which they reside. My own version of such a view is non-eliminative in the sense that it does not lead to a programme for eliminating reference to mathematical objects. I reply to criticisms of non-eliminative structuralism recently advanced by Keränen and Hellman. In replying to the former, (...) I rely on a distinction between 'basic' and 'constructed' structures. A conclusion is that ideas from the metaphysical tradition can be misleading when applied to the objects of modern mathematics. (shrink)
The paper undertakes to characterize Hao Wang's style, convictions, and method as a philosopher, centering on his most important philosophical work From Mathematics to Philosophy, 1974. The descriptive character of Wang's characteristic method is emphasized. Some specific achievements are discussed: his analyses of the concept of set, his discussion, in connection with setting forth Gödel's views, of minds and machines, and his concept of ‘analytic empiricism’ used to criticize Carnap and Quine. Wang's work as interpreter of Gödel's thought and the (...) importance of his writings as a source are also discussed. (shrink)
In this paper some of the history of the development of arithmetic in set theory is traced, particularly with reference to the problem of avoiding the assumption of an infinite set. Although the standard method of singling out a sequence of sets to be the natural numbers goes back to Zermelo, its development was more tortuous than is generally believed. We consider the development in the light of three desiderata for a solution and argue that they can probably not all (...) be satisfied simultaneously. (shrink)