In this work, we discuss a formal way of dealing with the properties of contextual systems. Our approach is to assume that properties describing the same physical quantity, but belonging to different measurement contexts, are indistinguishable in a strong sense. To construct the formal theoretical structure, we develop a description using quasi-set theory, which is a set-theoretical framework built to describe collections of elements that violate Leibnitz's principle of identity of indiscernibles. This framework allows us to consider a new ontology (...) in order to study the properties of quantum systems. (shrink)
Analysis of online mathematics forums can help reveal how explanation is used by mathematicians; we contend that this use of explanation may help to provide an informal conceptualization of simplicity. We extracted six conjectures from recent philosophical work on the occurrence and characteristics of explanation in mathematics. We then tested these conjectures against a corpus derived from online mathematical discussions. To this end, we employed two techniques, one based on indicator terms, the other on a random sample of comments lacking (...) such indicators. Our findings suggest that explanation is widespread in mathematical practice and that it occurs not only in proofs but also in other mathematical contexts. Our work also provides further evidence for the utility of empirical methods in addressing philosophical problems. (shrink)
In 2000, Rüdiger Thiele  found in a notebook of David Hilbert, kept in Hilbert's Nachlass at the University of Göttingen, a small note concerning a 24th problem. As Hilbert wrote, he had considered including this problem in his famous problem list for the International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris in 1900.