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Cycling in proofs and feasibility
 Transactions of the American Mathematical Society
, 1998
"... Abstract. There is a common perception by which small numbers are considered more concrete and large numbers more abstract. A mathematical formalization of this idea was introduced by Parikh (1971) through an inconsistent theory of feasible numbers in which addition and multiplication are as usual b ..."
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Abstract. There is a common perception by which small numbers are considered more concrete and large numbers more abstract. A mathematical formalization of this idea was introduced by Parikh (1971) through an inconsistent theory of feasible numbers in which addition and multiplication are as usual but for which some very large number is defined to be not feasible. Parikh shows that sufficiently short proofs in this theory can only prove true statements of arithmetic. We pursue these topics in light of logical flow graphs of proofs (Buss, 1991) and show that Parikh’s lower bound for concrete consistency reflects the presence of cycles in the logical graphs of short proofs of feasibility of large numbers. We discuss two concrete constructions which show the bound to be optimal and bring out the dynamical aspect of formal proofs. For this paper the concept of feasible numbers has two roles, as an idea with its own life and as a vehicle for exploring general principles on the dynamics and geometry of proofs. Cycles can be seen as a measure of how complicated a proof can be. We prove that short proofs must have cycles. 1.
NonBoolean Descriptions for MindMatter Problems
"... A framework for the mindmatter problem in a holistic universe which has no parts is outlined. The conceptual structure of modern quantum theory suggests to use complementary Boolean descriptions as elements for a more comprehensive nonBoolean description of a world without an apriorigiven mindmat ..."
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A framework for the mindmatter problem in a holistic universe which has no parts is outlined. The conceptual structure of modern quantum theory suggests to use complementary Boolean descriptions as elements for a more comprehensive nonBoolean description of a world without an apriorigiven mindmatter distinction. Such a description in terms of a locally Boolean but globally nonBoolean structure makes allowance for the fact that Boolean descriptions play a privileged role in science. If we accept the insight that there are no ultimate building blocks, the existence of holistic correlations between contextually chosen parts is a natural consequence. The main problem of a genuinely nonBoolean description is to find an appropriate partition of the universe of discourse. If we adopt the idea that all fundamental laws of physics are invariant under time translations, then we can consider a partition of the world into a tenseless and a tensed domain. In the sense of a regulative principle, the material domain is defined as the tenseless domain with its homogeneous time. The tensed domain contains the mental domain with a tensed time characterized by a privileged position, the Now. Since this partition refers to two complementary descriptions which are not given apriori,wehavetoexpectcorrelations between these two domains. In physics it corresponds to Newton’s separation of universal laws of nature and contingent initial conditions. Both descriptions have a nonBoolean structure and can be encompassed into a single nonBoolean description. Tensed and tenseless time can be synchronized by holistic correlations. 1.
Alan Turing and the Mathematical Objection
 Minds and Machines 13(1
, 2003
"... Abstract. This paper concerns Alan Turing’s ideas about machines, mathematical methods of proof, and intelligence. By the late 1930s, Kurt Gödel and other logicians, including Turing himself, had shown that no finite set of rules could be used to generate all true mathematical statements. Yet accord ..."
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Abstract. This paper concerns Alan Turing’s ideas about machines, mathematical methods of proof, and intelligence. By the late 1930s, Kurt Gödel and other logicians, including Turing himself, had shown that no finite set of rules could be used to generate all true mathematical statements. Yet according to Turing, there was no upper bound to the number of mathematical truths provable by intelligent human beings, for they could invent new rules and methods of proof. So, the output of a human mathematician, for Turing, was not a computable sequence (i.e., one that could be generated by a Turing machine). Since computers only contained a finite number of instructions (or programs), one might argue, they could not reproduce human intelligence. Turing called this the “mathematical objection ” to his view that machines can think. Logicomathematical reasons, stemming from his own work, helped to convince Turing that it should be possible to reproduce human intelligence, and eventually compete with it, by developing the appropriate kind of digital computer. He felt it should be possible to program a computer so that it could learn or discover new rules, overcoming the limitations imposed by the incompleteness and undecidability results in the same way that human mathematicians presumably do. Key words: artificial intelligence, ChurchTuring thesis, computability, effective procedure, incompleteness, machine, mathematical objection, ordinal logics, Turing, undecidability The ‘skin of an onion ’ analogy is also helpful. In considering the functions of the mind or the brain we find certain operations which we can express in purely mechanical terms. This we say does not correspond to the real mind: it is a sort of skin which we must strip off if we are to find the real mind. But then in what remains, we find a further skin to be stripped off, and so on. Proceeding in this way, do we ever come to the ‘real ’ mind, or do we eventually come to the skin which has nothing in it? In the latter case, the whole mind is mechanical (Turing, 1950, p. 454–455). 1.
Conceptions of the Continuum
"... Abstract: A number of conceptions of the continuum are examined from the perspective of conceptual structuralism, a view of the nature of mathematics according to which mathematics emerges from humanly constructed, intersubjectively established, basic structural conceptions. This puts into question ..."
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Abstract: A number of conceptions of the continuum are examined from the perspective of conceptual structuralism, a view of the nature of mathematics according to which mathematics emerges from humanly constructed, intersubjectively established, basic structural conceptions. This puts into question the idea from current set theory that the continuum is somehow a uniquely determined concept. Key words: the continuum, structuralism, conceptual structuralism, basic structural conceptions, Euclidean geometry, Hilbertian geometry, the real number system, settheoretical conceptions, phenomenological conceptions, foundational conceptions, physical conceptions. 1. What is the continuum? On the face of it, there are several distinct forms of the continuum as a mathematical concept: in geometry, as a straight line, in analysis as the real number system (characterized in one of several ways), and in set theory as the power set of the natural numbers and, alternatively, as the set of all infinite sequences of zeros and ones. Since it is common to refer to the continuum, in what sense are these all instances of the same concept? When one speaks of the continuum in current settheoretical
In Defense of the Ideal 2nd DRAFT
"... This paper lies at the edge of the topic of the workshop. We can write down a Π1 1 axiom whose models are precisely the ∈structures 〈Rα, ∈ ∩R2 α〉 where α> 0 and Rα is the collection of all (pure) sets of rank < α. From this, one can consider the introduction of new axioms concerning the size of α. ..."
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This paper lies at the edge of the topic of the workshop. We can write down a Π1 1 axiom whose models are precisely the ∈structures 〈Rα, ∈ ∩R2 α〉 where α> 0 and Rα is the collection of all (pure) sets of rank < α. From this, one can consider the introduction of new axioms concerning the size of α. The question of the grounds for doing so is perhaps the central question of the workshop. But I want to discuss another question which, as I said, arises at the periphery: How do we know that there are structures 〈Rα, ∈ ∩R2 α〉? How do we know that there exist such things as sets and how do we know that, given such things, the axioms we write down are true of them? These seem very primitive questions, but the skepticism implicit in them has deep (and ancient) roots. In particular, they are questions about ideal objects in general, and not just about the actual infinite. I want to explain why I think the questions (as intended) are empty and the skepticism unfounded. 1 I will be expanding the argument of the first part of my paper “Proof and truth: the Platonism of mathematics”[1986a]. 2 The argument in question