Meršić o Hilbertovoj aksiomatskoj metodi [Meršić on Hilbert's axiomatic method]

In E. Banić-Pajnić & M. Girardi Karšulin (eds.), Zbornik u čast Franji Zenku. Zagreb: pp. 123-135 (2006)
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The criticism of Hilbert's axiomatic system of geometry by Mate Meršić (Merchich, 1850-1928), presented in his work "Organistik der Geometrie" (1914, also in "Modernes und Modriges", 1914), is analyzed and discussed. According to Meršić, geometry cannot be based on its own axioms, as a logical analysis of spatial intuition, but must be derived as a "spatial concretion" using "higher" axioms of arithmetic, logic, and "rational algorithmics." Geometry can only be one, because space is also only one. It cannot be reduced to manipulation with symbols but has to deal with concepts and provide real knowledge. According to Meršić, aiming at some particular proof of the consistency of the whole axiomatic system is meaningless because the consistency follows from the truth of individual axioms based on spatial intuition. It is impossible, according to Meršić, for the geometric axioms to be mutually independent because they must be interconnected as essential parts of a whole. Although Meršić did not recognize all the advantages of Hilbert's formalization of geometry, he clearly pointed out some crucial limitations of the axiomatic method.



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Srećko Kovač
Institute of Philosophy, Zagreb

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