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"Clarifying the Nature of the Infinite": the development of metamathematics and proof theory
, 2001
"... We discuss the development of metamathematics in the Hilbert school, and Hilbert's prooftheoretic program in particular. We place this program in a broader historical and philosophical context, especially with respect to nineteenth century developments in mathematics and logic. Finally, we sho ..."
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We discuss the development of metamathematics in the Hilbert school, and Hilbert's prooftheoretic program in particular. We place this program in a broader historical and philosophical context, especially with respect to nineteenth century developments in mathematics and logic. Finally, we show how these considerations help frame our understanding of metamathematics and proof theory today.
Hilbert’s Program Then and Now
, 2005
"... Hilbert’s program is, in the first instance, a proposal and a research program in the philosophy and foundations of mathematics. It was formulated in the early 1920s by German mathematician David Hilbert (1862–1943), and was pursued by him and his collaborators at the University of Göttingen and els ..."
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Hilbert’s program is, in the first instance, a proposal and a research program in the philosophy and foundations of mathematics. It was formulated in the early 1920s by German mathematician David Hilbert (1862–1943), and was pursued by him and his collaborators at the University of Göttingen and elsewhere in the 1920s
Hilbert’s “Verunglückter Beweis,” the first epsilon theorem and consistency proofs. History and Philosophy of Logic
"... Abstract. On the face of it, Hilbert’s Program was concerned with proving consistency of mathematical systems in a finitary way. This was to be accomplished by showing that that these systems are conservative over finitistically interpretable and obviously sound quantifierfree subsystems. One propo ..."
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Abstract. On the face of it, Hilbert’s Program was concerned with proving consistency of mathematical systems in a finitary way. This was to be accomplished by showing that that these systems are conservative over finitistically interpretable and obviously sound quantifierfree subsystems. One proposed method of giving such proofs is Hilbert’s epsilonsubstitution method. There was, however, a second approach which was not refelected in the publications of the Hilbert school in the 1920s, and which is a direct precursor of Hilbert’s first epsilon theorem and a certain “general consistency result. ” An analysis of this socalled “failed proof ” lends further support to an interpretation of Hilbert according to which he was expressly concerned with conservatitvity proofs, even though his publications only mention consistency as the main question. §1. Introduction. The aim of Hilbert’s program for consistency proofs in the 1920s is well known: to formalize mathematics, and to give finitistic consistency proofs of these systems and thus to put mathematics on a “secure foundation.” What is perhaps less well known is exactly how Hilbert thought this should be carried out. Over ten years before Gentzen developed sequent calculus formalizations
Hermann Weyl’s Intuitionistic Mathematics. Dirk
"... It is common knowledge that for a short while Hermann Weyl joined Brouwer in his pursuit of a revision of mathematics according to intuitionistic principles. There is, however, little in the literature that sheds light on Weyl’s role, and in particular on Brouwer’s reaction to Weyl’s allegiance to t ..."
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It is common knowledge that for a short while Hermann Weyl joined Brouwer in his pursuit of a revision of mathematics according to intuitionistic principles. There is, however, little in the literature that sheds light on Weyl’s role, and in particular on Brouwer’s reaction to Weyl’s allegiance to the cause of intuitionism. This short episode certainly raises a number of questions: what made Weyl give up his own program, spelled out in “Das Kontinuum”, how come Weyl was so wellinformed about Brouwer’s new intuitionism, in what respect did Weyl’s intuitionism differ from Brouwer’s intuitionism, what did Brouwer think of Weyl’s views,........? To some of these questions at least partial answers can be put forward on the basis of some of the available correspondence and notes. The present paper will concentrate mostly on the historical issues of the intuitionistic episode in Weyl’s career. Weyl entered the foundational controversy with a bang in 1920 with his sensational paper “On the new foundational crisis in mathematics ” 1. He had already made a name for himself in the foundations of mathematics in 1918 with his monograph “The Continuum” [Weyl 1918] ; this contained in addition to a technical logical – mathematical construction of the continuum, a fairly extensive discussion of the shortcomings of the traditional construction of the continuum on the basis of arbitrary — and hence also impredicative — Dedekind cuts. This book did not cause much of a stir in mathematics, that is to say, it was ritually quoted in the literature but, probably, little understood. It had to wait for a proper appreciation until the phenomenon of impredicativity was better understood 2. The paper “On the new foundational crisis in mathematics ” had a totally different effect, it was the proverbial stone thrown into the quiet pond of mathematics. Weyl characterised it in retrospect with the somewhat apologetic words: Only with some hesitation I acknowledge these lectures, which reflect in their style, which was here and there really bombastic, the mood of excited times — the times immediately following the First World War. 3 Indeed, Weyl’s “New crisis ” reads as a manifesto to the mathematical community, it uses an evocative language with a good many explicit references to the political
Emergence: an algorithmic formulation
, 2005
"... When the microequations of a dynamical system generate complex macrobehaviour, there can be an explanatory gap between the smallscale and largescale descriptions of the same system. The microdynamics may be simple, but its relationship to the macrobehaviour may seem impenetrable. This phenomenon, ..."
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When the microequations of a dynamical system generate complex macrobehaviour, there can be an explanatory gap between the smallscale and largescale descriptions of the same system. The microdynamics may be simple, but its relationship to the macrobehaviour may seem impenetrable. This phenomenon, known as emergence, poses problems for the nature of scientific understanding. How do we reconcile two radically different modes of description? Emergence is formulated using the powerful tools of algorithmic information and computational theory. This provides the ground for an extension and generalisation of the phenomenon. Mathematics itself is analysed as an emergent system, linking formalist notions of mathematics as a string manipulation game with the more abstract ideas and proofs that occupy mathematicians. A philosophical problem that has plagued emergence is whether the whole can be more than the sum of its parts. This possibility, known as strong emergence, manifests when emergent macrostructures introduce brand new causal dynamics into a system. A new perspective on this
JACQUES HERBRAND: LIFE, LOGIC, AND AUTOMATED DEDUCTION
"... The lives of mathematical prodigies who passed away very early after groundbreaking work invoke a fascination for later generations: The early death of Niels Henrik Abel (1802–1829) from ill health after a sled trip to visit his fiancé for Christmas; the obscure circumstances of Evariste Galois ’ (1 ..."
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The lives of mathematical prodigies who passed away very early after groundbreaking work invoke a fascination for later generations: The early death of Niels Henrik Abel (1802–1829) from ill health after a sled trip to visit his fiancé for Christmas; the obscure circumstances of Evariste Galois ’ (1811–1832) duel; the deaths of consumption of Gotthold Eisenstein (1823–1852) (who sometimes lectured his few students from his bedside) and of Gustav Roch (1839–1866) in Venice; the drowning of the topologist Pavel Samuilovich Urysohn (1898–1924) on vacation; the burial of Raymond Paley (1907–1933) in an avalanche at Deception Pass in the Rocky Mountains; as well as the fatal imprisonment of Gerhard Gentzen (1909–1945) in Prague1 — these are tales most scholars of logic and mathematics have heard in their student days. Jacques Herbrand, a young prodigy admitted to the École Normale Supérieure as the best student of the year1925, when he was17, died only six years later in a mountaineering accident in La Bérarde (Isère) in France. He left a legacy in logic and mathematics that is outstanding.