In…nite Possibilities and Possibilities of In…nity

In the …rst part of this paper, the origins of modal-structuralism are traced from Hilary Putnam’s seminal article, "Mathematics without Foundations" (1967) to its transformation and development into the author’s modal-structural approach. The addition of a logic of plurals is highlighted for its recovery (in combination with the resources of mereology) of full, second-order logic, essential for articulating a good theory of mathematical structures. The second part concentrates on the motivation of large trans…nite cardinal numbers, arising naturally from the second-order machinery combined with an extendability principle on structures for set theories due independently to Zermelo (1930) and Putnam (in the paper just cited). The power of this is enhanced by a novel modal re‡ection principle recently introduced by the author. This is illustrated in detail with the …rst axiom of in…nity: After reviewing some of the trouble this basic classical axiom has caused for previous foundational programs, we show how it is derived easily using the re‡ection principle and a weak form of extendability for …nite structures. We conclude with some comparative remarks on how this improves on the closest set-theoretic analogue to the present proposal.
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