A note on finiteness in the predicative foundations of arithmetic

Journal of Philosophical Logic 28 (2):165-174 (1999)

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
Keywords foundations of arithmetic  predicativism  finiteness  natural numbers  induction
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1004377219147
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