What Finitism Could Not Be (Lo que el finitismo no podría ser)

Critica 35 (103):43 - 68 (2003)
Abstract
In his paper "Finitism" (1981), W.W. Tait maintains that the chief difficulty for everyone who wishes to understand Hilbert's conception of finitist mathematics is this: to specify the sense of the provability of general statements about the natural numbers without presupposing infinite totalities. Tait further argues that all finitist reasoning is essentially primitive recursive. In this paper, we attempt to show that his thesis "The finitist functions are precisely the primitive recursive functions" is disputable and that another, likewise defended by him, is untenable. The second thesis is that the finitist theorems are precisely the universal closures of the equations that can be proved in PRA. /// En su articulo "Finitism" (1981), W.W. Tait sostiene que la dificultad principal para quien quiere comprender la concepción hilbertiana de la matemática finitista es ésta: especificar el sentido de la demostrabilidad de enunciados generales sobre los números naturales sin presuponer totalidades infinitas. Además, Tait argumenta que todo razonamiento finitista es esencialmente primitivo recursivo. En este artículo tratamos de mostrar que su tesis "Las funciones finitistas son precisamente las funciones primitivas recursivas" es discutible y que otra, también defendida por él, resulta insostenible. La segunda tesis es que los teoremas finitistas son precisamente las clausuras universales de las ecuaciones que pueden demostrarse en PRA.
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