The Significance of Evidence-based Reasoning for Mathematics, Mathematics Education, Philosophy and the Natural Sciences

(forthcoming)

Abstract

In this multi-disciplinary investigation we show how an evidence-based perspective of quantification---in terms of algorithmic verifiability and algorithmic computability---admits evidence-based definitions of well-definedness and effective computability, which yield two unarguably constructive interpretations of the first-order Peano Arithmetic PA---over the structure N of the natural numbers---that are complementary, not contradictory. The first yields the weak, standard, interpretation of PA over N, which is well-defined with respect to assignments of algorithmically verifiable Tarskian truth values to the formulas of PA under the interpretation. The second yields a strong, finitary, interpretation of PA over N, which is well-defined with respect to assignments of algorithmically computable Tarskian truth values to the formulas of PA under the interpretation. We situate our investigation within a broad analysis of quantification vis a vis: * Hilbert's epsilon-calculus * Goedel's omega-consistency * The Law of the Excluded Middle * Hilbert's omega-Rule * An Algorithmic omega-Rule * Gentzen's Rule of Infinite Induction * Rosser's Rule C * Markov's Principle * The Church-Turing Thesis * Aristotle's particularisation * Wittgenstein's perspective of constructive mathematics * An evidence-based perspective of quantification. By showing how these are formally inter-related, we highlight the fragility of both the persisting, theistic, classical/Platonic interpretation of quantification grounded in Hilbert's epsilon-calculus; and the persisting, atheistic, constructive/Intuitionistic interpretation of quantification rooted in Brouwer's belief that the Law of the Excluded Middle is non-finitary. We then consider some consequences for mathematics, mathematics education, philosophy, and the natural sciences, of an agnostic, evidence-based, finitary interpretation of quantification that challenges classical paradigms in all these disciplines.

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