This paper shows how the universals of category theory in mathematics provide a model (in the Platonic Heaven of mathematics) for the self-predicative strand of Plato's Theory of Forms as well as for the idea of a "concrete universal" in Hegel and similar ideas of paradigmatic exemplars in ordinary thought. The paper also shows how the always-self-predicative universals of category theory provide the "opposite bookend" to the never-self-predicative universals of iterative set theory and thus that the paradoxes arose from having (...) one theory (e.g., Frege's Paradise) where universals could be either self-predicative or non-self-predicative (instead of being always one or always the other). (shrink)
In the literature, predicativism is connected not only with the Vicious Circle Principle but also with the idea that certain totalities are inherently potential. To explain the connection between these two aspects of predicativism, we explore some approaches to predicativity within the modal framework for potentiality developed in Linnebo (2013) and Linnebo and Shapiro (2019). This puts predicativism into a more general framework and helps to sharpen some of its key theses.
In this article I present a disagreement between classical and constructive approaches to predicativity regarding the predicative status of so-called generalised inductive definitions. I begin by offering some motivation for an enquiry in the predicative foundations of constructive mathematics, by looking at contemporary work at the intersection between mathematics and computer science. I then review the background notions and spell out the above-mentioned disagreement between classical and constructive approaches to predicativity. Finally, I look at possible ways of defending the constructive (...) predicativity of inductive definitions. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Theories of sets such as Zermelo Fraenkel set theory are usually presented as the combination of two distinct kinds of principles: logical and set-theoretic principles. The set-theoretic principles are imposed ‘on top’ of first-order logic. This is in agreement with a traditional view of logic as universally applicable and topic neutral. Such a view of logic has been rejected by the intuitionists, on the ground that quantification over infinite domains requires the use of intuitionistic rather than classical logic. In (...) the following, I consider constructive set theories, which use intuitionistic rather than classical logic, and argue that they manifest a distinctive interdependence or an entanglement between sets and logic. In fact, Martin-Löf type theory identifies fundamental logical and set-theoretic notions. Remarkably, one of the motivations for this identification is the thought that classical quantification over infinite domains is problematic, while intuitionistic quantification is not. The approach to quantification adopted in Martin-Löf’s type theory is subtly interconnected with its predicativity. I conclude by recalling key aspects of an approach to predicativity inspired by Poincaré, which focuses on the issue of correct quantification over infinite domains and relate it back to Martin-Löf type theory. (shrink)
Contributing to the debate between referentialist and predicativist accounts of the semantics of proper names, this paper partly endorses a recent trend to reject unitary accounts of their semantics. It does so by restoring a Fregean version of the variety of use account. It criticizes alternative variety of use accounts for not clearly distinguishing pragmatic, syntactic, and semantic issues and argues that, once these are distinguished, the necessity of accepting that names have a variety of uses, and are sometimes logical (...) singular terms and at others logical predicates shows that Frege’s claim, that we should recognize that names have both reference and sense, is vindicated. (shrink)
This paper argues that Noether's axiomatic method in algebra cannot be assimilated to Weyl's late view on axiomatics, for his acquiescence to a phenomenological epistemology of correctness led Weyl to resist Noether's principle of detachment.
Bertrand Russell was one of the best-known proponents of logicism: the theory that mathematics reduces to, or is an extension of, logic. Russell argued for this thesis in his 1903 The Principles of Mathematics and attempted to demonstrate it formally in Principia Mathematica (PM 1910–1913; with A. N. Whitehead). Russell later described his work as a further “regressive” step in understanding the foundations of mathematics made possible by the late 19th century “arithmetization” of mathematics and Frege’s logical definitions of arithmetical (...) concepts. The logical system of PM sought to improve on earlier attempts by solving the contradictions found in, e.g., Frege’s system, by employing a theory of types. In this article, I also consider and critically evaluate the most common objections to Russell’s logicism, including the claim that it is undermined by Gödel’s incompleteness results, and Putnam's charge of “if-thenism”. I suggest that if we are willing to accept a slightly revisionist account of what counts as a mathematical truth, these criticisms do not obviously refute Russell’s claim to have established that mathematical truths generally are a species of logical truth. (shrink)
Prominent constructive theories of sets as Martin-Löf type theory and Aczel and Myhill constructive set theory, feature a distinctive form of constructivity: predicativity. This may be phrased as a constructibility requirement for sets, which ought to be finitely specifiable in terms of some uncontroversial initial “objects” and simple operations over them. Predicativity emerged at the beginning of the 20th century as a fundamental component of an influential analysis of the paradoxes by Poincaré and Russell. According to this analysis the paradoxes (...) are caused by a vicious circularity in definitions; adherence to predicativity was therefore proposed as a systematic method for preventing such problematic circularity. In the following, I sketch the origins of predicativity, review the fundamental contributions by Russell and Weyl and look at modern incarnations of this notion. (shrink)
Philip Jourdain put this question to Frege in a letter of 28 January 1909. Frege had, indeed, next to nothing to say about ordinals, and in this respect Bob Hale has followed the master. As I hope this chapter will show, though, the topic is worth addressing. The natural abstraction principle for ordinals combines with full, impredicative second-order logic to engender a contradiction, the so-called Burali-Forti Paradox. I shall contend that the best solution involves a retreat to a predicative logic. (...) Such a retreat has implications for other neo-Fregean theories, including the cardinal arithmetic on which Hale has focused. The discussion will touch on a topic which has been at the centre of Hale’s more recent work—namely, the interpretation of plural and higher-order quantifiers. (shrink)
Predicativity is a notable example of fruitful interaction between philosophy and mathematical logic. It originated at the beginning of the 20th century from methodological and philosophical reflections on a changing concept of set. A clarification of this notion has prompted the development of fundamental new technical instruments, from Russell's type theory to an important chapter in proof theory, which saw the decisive involvement of Kreisel, Feferman and Schütte. The technical outcomes of predica-tivity have since taken a life of their own, (...) but have also produced a deeper understanding of the notion of predicativity, therefore witnessing the " light logic throws on problems in the foundations of mathematics. " (Feferman 1998, p. vii) Predicativity has been at the center of a considerable part of Feferman's work: over the years he has explored alternative ways of explicating and analyzing this notion and has shown that predicative mathematics extends much further than expected within ordinary mathematics. The aim of this note is to outline the principal features of predicativity, from its original motivations at the start of the past century to its logical analysis in the 1950-60's. The hope is to convey why predicativity is a fascinating subject, which has attracted Feferman's attention over the years. (shrink)
I present a reconstruction of the logical system of the Tractatus, which differs from classical logic in two ways. It includes an account of Wittgenstein’s “form-series” device, which suffices to express some effectively generated countably infinite disjunctions. And its attendant notion of structure is relativized to the fixed underlying universe of what is named. -/- There follow three results. First, the class of concepts definable in the system is closed under finitary induction. Second, if the universe of objects is countably (...) infinite, then the property of being a tautology is \Pi^1_1-complete. But third, it is only granted the assumption of countability that the class of tautologies is \Sigma_1-definable in set theory. -/- Wittgenstein famously urges that logical relationships must show themselves in the structure of signs. He also urges that the size of the universe cannot be prejudged. The results of this paper indicate that there is no single way in which logical relationships could be held to make themselves manifest in signs, which does not prejudge the number of objects. (shrink)
Frege's theorem says that second-order Peano arithmetic is interpretable in Hume's Principle and full impredicative comprehension. Hume's Principle is one example of an abstraction principle, while another paradigmatic example is Basic Law V from Frege's Grundgesetze. In this paper we study the strength of abstraction principles in the presence of predicative restrictions on the comprehension schema, and in particular we study a predicative Fregean theory which contains all the abstraction principles whose underlying equivalence relations can be proven to be equivalence (...) relations in a weak background second-order logic. We show that this predicative Fregean theory interprets second-order Peano arithmetic. (shrink)
The primary purpose of this note is to demonstrate that predicative Frege arithmetic naturally interprets certain weak but non-trivial arithmetical theories. It will take almost as long to explain what this means and why it matters as it will to prove the results.
Øystein Linnebo has recently shown that the existence of successors cannot be proven in predicative Frege arithmetic, using Frege’s definitions of arithmetical notions. By contrast, it is shown here that the existence of successor can be proven in ramified predicative Frege arithmetic.
Cantor’s proof that the powerset of the set of all natural numbers is uncountable yields a version of Richard’s paradox when restricted to the full definable universe, that is, to the universe containing all objects that can be defined not just in one formal language but by means of the full expressive power of natural language: this universe seems to be countable on one account and uncountable on another. We argue that the claim that definitional contexts impose restrictions on the (...) scope of quantifiers reveals a natural way out. (shrink)
It is a commonly held view that Dedekind's construction of the real numbers is impredicative. This naturally raises the question of whether this impredicativity is justified by some kind of Platonism about sets. But when we look more closely at Dedekind's philosophical views, his ontology does not look Platonist at all. So how is his construction justified? There are two aspects of the solution: one is to look more closely at his methodological views, and in particular, the places in which (...) predicativity restrictions ought to be applied; another is to take seriously his remarks about the reals as things created by the cuts, instead of considering them to be the cuts themselves. This can lead us to make finer-grained distinctions about the extent to which impredicative definitions are problematic, since we find that Dedekind's use of impredicative definitions in analysis can be justified by his philosophical views. (shrink)
What is predicativity? While the term suggests that there is a single idea involved, what the history will show is that there are a number of ideas of predicativity which may lead to different logical analyses, and I shall uncover these only gradually. A central question will then be what, if anything, unifies them. Though early discussions are often muddy on the concepts and their employment, in a number of important respects they set the stage for the further developments, and (...) so I shall give them special attention. NB. Ahistorically, modern logical and set-theoretical notation will be used throughout, as long as it does not conflict with original intentions. (shrink)
Frege Arithmetic (FA) is the second-order theory whose sole non-logical axiom is Hume’s Principle, which says that the number of F s is identical to the number of Gs if and only if the F s and the Gs can be one-to-one correlated. According to Frege’s Theorem, FA and some natural deﬁnitions imply all of second-order Peano Arithmetic. This paper distinguishes two dimensions of impredicativity involved in FA—one having to do with Hume’s Principle, the other, with the underlying second-order logic—and (...) investigates how much of Frege’s Theorem goes through in various partially predicative fragments of FA. Theorem 1 shows that almost everything goes through, the most important exception being the axiom that every natural number has a successor. Theorem 2 shows that the Successor Axiom cannot be proved in the theories that are predicative in either dimension. (shrink)
Hilbert’s program in the philosophy of mathematics comes in two parts. One part is a technical part. To carry out this part of the program one has to prove a certain technical result. The other part of the program is a philosophical part. It is concerned with philosophical questions that are the real aim of the program. To carry out this part one, basically, has to show why the technical part answers the philosophical questions one wanted to have answered. Hilbert (...) probably thought that he had completed the philosophical part of his program, maybe up to a few details. What was left to do was the technical part. To carry it out one, roughly, had to give a precise axiomatization of mathematics and show that it is consistent on purely finitistic grounds. This would come down to giving a relative consistency proof of mathematics in finitist mathematics, or to give a proof-theoretic reduction of mathematics on to finitist mathematics (we will look at these notions in more detail soon). It is widely believed that Gödel’s theorems showed that the technical part of Hilbert’s program could not be carried out. Gödel’s theorems show that the consistency of arithmetic can not even be proven in arithmetic, not to speak of by finitistic means alone. So, the technical part of Hilbert’s program is hopeless, and since Hilbert’s program essentially relied on both the technical and the philosophical part, Hilbert’s program as a whole is hopeless. Justified as this attitude is, it is a bit unfortunate. It is unfortunate because it takes away too much attention from the philosophical part of Hilbert’s program. And this is unfortunate for two reasons. (shrink)
By combining some technical results from metamathematicalinvestigations of systems of Bounded Arithmetic, I will givean argument for the untenability of Nelson 's finitistic program,encapsulated in his book Predicative Arithmetic.
Recently, Feferman and Hellman (and Aczel) showed how to establish the existence and categoricity of a natural number system by predicative means given the primitive notion of a finite set of individuals and given also a suitable pairing function operating on individuals. This short paper shows that this existence and categoricity result does not rely (even indirectly) on finite-set induction, thereby sustaining Feferman and Hellman's point in favor of the view that natural number induction can be derived from a very (...) weak fragment of finite-set theory, so weak that finite-set induction is not assumed. Many basic features of finiteness fail to hold in these weak fragments, conspicuously the principle that finite sets are in one-one correspondence with a proper initial segments of a (any) natural number structure. In the last part of the paper, we propose two prima facie evident principles for finite sets that, when added to these fragments, entail this principle. (shrink)
This book develops arithmetic without the induction principle, working in theories that are interpretable in Raphael Robinson's theory Q. Certain inductive formulas, the bounded ones, are interpretable in Q. A mathematically strong, but logically very weak, predicative arithmetic is constructed. Originally published in 1986. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting (...) them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905. (shrink)
Both the constructive and predicative approaches to mathematics arose during the period of what was felt to be a foundational crisis in the early part of this century. Each critiqued an essential logical aspect of classical mathematics, namely concerning the unrestricted use of the law of excluded middle on the one hand, and of apparently circular \impredicative" de nitions on the other. But the positive redevelopment of mathematics along constructive, resp. predicative grounds did not emerge as really viable alternatives to (...) classical, set-theoretically based mathematics until the 1960s. Now we have a massive amount of information, to which this lecture will constitute an introduction, about what can be done by what means, and about the theoretical interrelationships between various formal systems for constructive, predicative and classical analysis. (shrink)
This is a sequel to our article “Predicative foundations of arithmetic” (1995), referred to in the following as [PFA]; here we review and clarify what was accomplished in [PFA], present some improvements and extensions, and respond to several challenges. The classic challenge to a program of the sort exemplified by [PFA] was issued by Charles Parsons in a 1983 paper, subsequently revised and expanded as Parsons (1992). Another critique is due to Daniel Isaacson (1987). Most recently, Alexander George and Daniel (...) Velleman (1996) have examined [PFA] closely in the context of a general discussion of different philosophical approaches to the foundations of arithmetic. (shrink)
A specification of a mathematical object is impredicative if it essentially involves quantification over a domain which includes the object being specified (or sets which contain that object, or similar). The basic worry is that we have no non-circular way of understanding such a specification. Predicativism is the view that mathematics should be limited to the study of objects which can be specified predicatively. There are two parts to predicativism. One is the criticism of the impredicative aspects of classical mathematics. (...) The other is the positive project, begun by Weyl in Das Kontinuum (1918), to reconstruct as much as possible of classical mathematics on the basis of a predicatively acceptable set theory, which accepts only countably infinite objects. This is a revisionary project, and certain parts of mathematics will not be saved. Chapter 2 contains an account of the historical background to the predicativist project. The rigorization of analysis led to Dedekind's and Cantor's theories of the real numbers, which relied on the new notion of abitrary infinite sets; this became a central part of modern classical set theory. Criticism began with Kronecker; continued in the debate about the acceptability of Zermelo's Axiom of Choice; and was somewhat clarified by Poincaré and Russell. In the light of this, chapter 3 examines the formulation of, and motivations behind the predicativist position. Chapter 4 begins the critical task by detailing the epistemological problems with the classical account of the continuum. Explanations of classicism which appeal to second-order logic, set theory, and primitive intuition are examined and are found wanting. Chapter 5 aims to dispell the worry that predicativism might collapses into mathematical intuitionism. I assess some of the arguments for intuitionism, especially the Dummettian argument from indefinite extensibility. I argue that the natural numbers are not indefinitely extensible, and that, although the continuum is, we can nonetheless make some sense of classical quantification over it. We need not reject the Law of Excluded Middle. Chapter 6 begins the positive work by outlining a predicatively acceptable account of mathematical objects which justifies the Vicious Circle Principle. Chapter 7 explores the appropriate shape of formalized predicative mathematics, and the question of just how much mathematics is predicatively acceptable. My conclusion is that all of the mathematics which we need can be predicativistically justified, and that such mathematics is particularly transparent to reason. This calls into question one currently prevalent view of the nature of mathematics, on which mathematics is justified by quasi-empirical means. (shrink)
I am interested in the philosophical prospects of what is called ‘predicativism given the natural numbers’. And today, in particular, I want to critically discuss one argument that has been offered to suggest that this kind of predicativism can’t have a stable philosophical motivation. Actually you don’t really need to know about predicativism to find some stand-alone interest in the theme I will be discussing. But still, it’s worth putting things into context. So I’m going to start by spending a (...) bit of time introducing you to the background. (shrink)