Hermann Weyl as a founding father of field theory in relativistic physics and quantum theory always stressed the internal logic of mathematical and physical theories. In line with his stance in the foundations of mathematics, Weyl advocated a constructivist approach in physics and geometry. An attempt is made here to present a unified picture of Weyl's conception of space-time theories from Riemann to Minkowski. The emphasis is on the mathematical foundations of physics and the foundational significance of a constructivist philosophical (...) point of view. I conclude with some remarks on Weyl's broader philosophical views. (shrink)
Dans cet article, je compare les vues de Lautman et Herbrand sur la théorie des nombres et la philosophie de l’arithmétique. Je montre que, bien que Lautman eût avoué avoir été marqué par l’influence de Herbrand, les postures fondationnelles des deux amis divergent considérablement. Alors que Lautman versait dans un réalisme platonicien, Herbrand est resté fidèle au finitisme hilbertien. Il est vrai que Lautman était philosophe et que Herbrand était avant tout arithméticien et logicien, mais il demeure que l’oeuvre de (...) Herbrand a une portée philosophique mieux accordée à la logique et aux mathématiques contemporaines.In this paper, I am contrasting Lautman’s and Herbrand’s views on number theory and philosophy of arithmetic. It is argued that despite the fact that Lautman had acknowledged Herbrand’s major influence on his own work, their foundational stances diverge profoundly. Lautman defended a variety of Platonism and Herbrand advocated a personal version of Hilbertian finitism. Of course, Lautman was a philosopher while Herbrand dealt mainly with number theory and logic. It remains though that Herbrand’s work is more in tune with contemporary logic and mathematics from a philosophical perspective. (shrink)
What Gödel referred to as “outer” consistency is contrasted with the “inner” consistency of arithmetic from a constructivist point of view. In the settheoretic setting of Peano arithmetic, the diagonal procedure leads out of the realm of natural numbers. It is shown that Hilbert’s programme of arithmetization points rather to an “internalisation” of consistency. The programme was continued by Herbrand, Gödel and Tarski. Tarski’s method of quantifier elimination and Gödel’s Dialectica interpretation are part and parcel of Hilbert’s finitist ideal which (...) is achieved by going back to Kronecker’s programme of a general arithmetic of forms or homogeneous polynomials. The paper can be seen as a historical complement to our result on “The Internal Consistency of Arithmetic with Infinite Descent” . An internal consistency proof for arithmetic means that transfinite induction is not needed and that arithmetic can be shown to be consistent within the bounds of arithmetic, that is with the help of Fermat’s infinite descent and Kronecker’s general or polynomial arithmetic, thus returning into arithmetic without the detour of Cantor’s transfinite arithmetic of ideal elements. (shrink)
This paper aims at a logico-mathematical analysis of the concept of chaos from the point of view of a constructivist philosophy of physics. The idea of an internal logic of chaos theory is meant as an alternative to a realist conception of chaos. A brief historical overview of the theory of dynamical systems is provided in order to situate the philosophical problem in the context of probability theory. A finitary probabilistic account of chaos amounts to the theory of measurement in (...) the line of a quantum-theoretical foundational perspective and the paper concludes on the non-classical internal logic of chaos theory. Finally, deterministic chaos points to a philosophy which asserts that chaotic systems are no less measurable than other physical systems where predictable and non–predictable phenomena intermingle in a constructive theory of measurement. (shrink)
This is a lively and clearly written introduction to the philosophy of natural science, organized around the central theme of scientific realism. It has two parts. 'Representing' deals with the different philosophical accounts of scientific objectivity and the reality of scientific entities. The views of Kuhn, Feyerabend, Lakatos, Putnam, van Fraassen, and others, are all considered. 'Intervening' presents the first sustained treatment of experimental science for many years and uses it to give a new direction to debates about realism. Hacking (...) illustrates how experimentation often has a life independent of theory. He argues that although the philosophical problems of scientific realism can not be resolved when put in terms of theory alone, a sound philosophy of experiment provides compelling grounds for a realistic attitude. A great many scientific examples are described in both parts of the book, which also includes lucid expositions of recent high energy physics and a remarkable chapter on the microscope in cell biology. (shrink)
SummaryFinite, or Fermat arithmetic, as we call it, differs from Peano arithmetic in that it does not involve the existence of an infinite set or Peano's induction postulate. Fermat's method of infinite descent takes the place of bound induction, and we show that a con‐structivist interpretation of logical connectives and quantifiers can account for the predicative finitary nature of Fermat's arithmetic. A non‐set‐theoretic arithemetical logic thus seems best suited to a constructivist‐inspired number theory.
Hilbert's programme is shown to have been inspired in part by what we can call Kronecker's programme in the foundations of an arithmetic theory of algebraic quantities.While finitism stays within the bounds of intuitive finite arithmetic, metamathematics goes beyond in the hope of recovering classical logic. The leap into the transfinite proved to be hazardous, not only from the perspective of Gödel's results, but also from a Kroneckerian point of view.