A long-awaited edition of Zermelo’s works Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9548-y Authors José Ferreirós, Instituto de Filosofia, CCHS-CSIC, Albasanz, 26-28, 28037 Madrid, Spain Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Set theory deals with the most fundamental existence questions in mathematics—questions which affect other areas of mathematics, from the real numbers to structures of all kinds, but which are posed as dealing with the existence of sets. Especially noteworthy are principles establishing the existence of some infinite sets, the so-called “arbitrary sets.” This paper is devoted to an analysis of the motivating goal of studying arbitrary sets, usually referred to under the labels of quasi-combinatorialism or combinatorial maximality. After explaining what (...) is meant by definability and by “arbitrariness,” a first historical part discusses the strong motives why set theory was conceived as a theory of arbitrary sets, emphasizing connections with analysis and particularly with the continuum of real numbers. Judged from this perspective, the axiom of choice stands out as a most central and natural set-theoretic principle (in the sense of quasi-combinatorialism). A second part starts by considering the potential mismatch between the formal systems of mathematics and their motivating conceptions, and proceeds to offer an elementary discussion of how far the Zermelo—Fraenkel system goes in laying out principles that capture the idea of “arbitrary sets”. We argue that the theory is rather poor in this respect. (shrink)
RESUMEN: Se ofrece un análisis de las transformaciones disciplinares que ha experimentado la lógica matemática o simbólica desde su surgimiento a fines del siglo XIX. Examinaremos sus orígenes como un híbrido de filosofía y matemáticas, su madurez e institucionalización bajo la rúbrica de “lógica y fundamentos”, una segunda ola de institucionalización durante la Posguerra, y los desarrollos institucionales desde 1975 en conexión con las ciencias de la computación y con el estudio de lenguaje e informática. Aunque se comenta algo de (...) la “historia interna”, nos centraremos en la emergencia, consolidación y convoluciones de la lógica como disciplina, a través de varias asociaciones profesionales y revistas, en centros como Turín, Gotinga, Varsovia, Berkeley, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford y Amsterdam.ABSTRACT: We offer an analysis of the disciplinary transformations underwent by mathematical or symbolic logic since its emergence in the late 19th century. Examined are its origins as a hybrid of philosophy and mathematics, the maturity and institutionalisation attained under the label “logic and foundations”, a second wave of institutionalisation in the Postwar period, and the institutional developments since 1975 in connection with computer science and with the study of language and informatics. Although some “internal history” is discussed, the main focus is on the emergence, consolidation and convolutions of logic as a discipline, through various professional associations and journals, in centers such as Torino, Göttingen, Warsaw, Berkeley, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, and Amsterdam. (shrink)
David Hilbert’s early foundational views, especially those corresponding to the 1890s, are analysed here. I consider strong evidence for the fact that Hilbert was a logicist at that time, following upon Dedekind’s footsteps in his understanding of pure mathematics. This insight makes it possible to throw new light on the evolution of Hilbert’s foundational ideas, including his early contributions to the foundations of geometry and the real number system. The context of Dedekind-style logicism makes it possible to offer a new (...) analysis of the emergence of Hilbert’s famous ideas on mathematical existence, now seen as a revision of basic principles of the “naive logic” of sets. At the same time, careful scrutiny of his published and unpublished work around the turn of the century uncovers deep differences between his ideas about consistency proofs before and after 1904. Along the way, we cover topics such as the role of sets and of the dichotomic conception of set theory in Hilbert’s early axiomatics, and offer detailed analyses of Hilbert’s paradox and of his completeness axiom (Vollständigkeitsaxiom). (shrink)
The celebrated “creation” of transfinite set theory by Georg Cantor has been studied in detail by historians of mathematics. However, it has generally been overlooked that his research program cannot be adequately explained as an outgrowth of the mainstream mathematics of his day. We review the main extra-mathematical motivations behind Cantor's very novel research, giving particular attention to a key contribution, the Grundlagen (Foundations of a general theory of sets) of 1883, where those motives are articulated in some detail. Evidence (...) from other publications and correspondence is pulled out to provide clarification and a detailed interpretation of those ideas and their impact upon Cantor's research. Throughout the paper, a special effort is made to place Cantor's scientific undertakings within the context of developments in German science and philosophy at the time (philosophers such as Trendelenburg and Lotze, scientists like Weber, Riemann, Vogt, Haeckel), and to reflect on the German intellectual atmosphere during the nineteenth century. (shrink)
El artículo intenta promover una recepción más amplia de los trabajos recientes sobre filosofía de la actividad científica experimental. Primero se comentarán los orígenes y las características de la tradición teoreticista predominante, criticando sus presupuestos y sus "miserias". Se analizará luego la función de los instrumentos, proponiendo una tipología de la actividad experimental, aunque elemental --esperamos-- útil. Tras analizar la estructura del experimento, empleando contribuciones de Pickering y otros, discutiremos la dinámica de la experimentación: los procesos de formación de datos. (...) Ésta es, obviamente, la cuestión más crucial y debatida, de la que depende la especificidad y fiabilidad de los métodos científicos. /// This paper attempts to promote a more widespread reception of recent work on the philosophy of experimental scientific activity. First, we comment on the origins and character of the predominant theoreticist tradition, offering critical remarks on its assumptions and "poverty". Then we analyze the function of instruments, proposing a coarse but hopefully useful typology of experimental activity. After analyzing the structure of experiment, drawing on work by Pickering and others, we discuss the dynamics of experimentation --the processes of data formation. This is obviously the most crucial and disputed issue, on which the specificity and reliability of scientific methods depends. (shrink)
This paper aims to outline an analysis and interpretation of the process that led to First-Order Logic and its consolidation as a core system of modern logic. We begin with an historical overview of landmarks along the road to modern logic, and proceed to a philosophical discussion casting doubt on the possibility of a purely rational justification of the actual delimitation of First-Order-Logic. On this basis, we advance the thesis that a certain historical tradition was essential to the emergence of (...) modern logic; this traditional context is analyzed as consisting in some guiding principles and, particularly, a set of exemplares (i.e., paradigmatic instances). Then, we proceed to interpret the historical course of development reviewed in section 1, which can broadly be described as a two-phased movement of expansion and then restriction of the scope of logical theory. We shall try to pinpoint ambivalencies in the process, and the main motives for subsequent changes. Among the latter, one may emphasize the spirit of modern axiomatics, the situation of foundational insecurity in the 1920s, the resulting desire to find systems well-behaved from a proof-theoretical point of view, and the metatheoretical results of the 1930s. Not surprisingly, the mathematical and, more specifically, the foundational context in which Firs-Order-Logic matured will be seen to have played a primary role in its shaping. (shrink)
The present paper is a contribution to the history of logic and its philosophy toward the mid-20th century. It examines the interplay between logic, type theory and set theory during the 1930s and 40s, before the reign of first-order logic, and the closely connected issue of the fate of logicism. After a brief presentation of the emergence of logicism, set theory, and type theory (with particular attention to Carnap and Tarski), Quine’s work is our central concern, since he was seemingly (...) the most outstanding logicist around 1940, though he would shortly abandon that viewpoint and promote first-order logic as all of logic. Quine’s class-theoretic systems NF and ML, and his farewell to logicism, are examined. The last section attempts to summarize the motives why set theory was preferred to other systems, and first orderlogic won its position as the paradigm logic system after the great War. (shrink)