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The Practice of Finitism: Epsilon Calculus and Consistency Proofs in Hilbert's Program
, 2001
"... . After a brief flirtation with logicism in 19171920, David Hilbert proposed his own program in the foundations of mathematics in 1920 and developed it, in concert with collaborators such as Paul Bernays and Wilhelm Ackermann, throughout the 1920s. The two technical pillars of the project were the ..."
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. After a brief flirtation with logicism in 19171920, David Hilbert proposed his own program in the foundations of mathematics in 1920 and developed it, in concert with collaborators such as Paul Bernays and Wilhelm Ackermann, throughout the 1920s. The two technical pillars of the project were the development of axiomatic systems for ever stronger and more comprehensive areas of mathematics and finitistic proofs of consistency of these systems. Early advances in these areas were made by Hilbert (and Bernays) in a series of lecture courses at the University of Gttingen between 1917 and 1923, and notably in Ackermann 's dissertation of 1924. The main innovation was the invention of the ecalculus, on which Hilbert's axiom systems were based, and the development of the esubstitution method as a basis for consistency proofs. The paper traces the development of the "simultaneous development of logic and mathematics" through the enotation and provides an analysis of Ackermann's consisten...
Remarks On Finitism
 Reflections on the Foundations of Mathematics. Essays in Honor of Solomon Feferman, LNL 15. Association for Symbolic Logic
, 2000
"... representability in intuition. (See [2, p. 40].) But our problem is, of course, not the finiteness of a number, but the infinity of numbers. There is, I think, a di#culty with Bernays' notion of formal object, where this is intended to extend to numbers so large as, not only to be beyond processing ..."
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representability in intuition. (See [2, p. 40].) But our problem is, of course, not the finiteness of a number, but the infinity of numbers. There is, I think, a di#culty with Bernays' notion of formal object, where this is intended to extend to numbers so large as, not only to be beyond processing by the human mind, but possibly to be beyond representablity in the physical world. [2, p. 39]. This di#culty ought to be discussed more adequately then + This paper is based on a talk that I was very pleased to give at the conference Reflections, December 1315, 1998, in honor of Solomon Feferman on his seventieth birthday. The choice of topic is especially appropriate for the conference in view of recent discussions we had had about finitism. I profited from the discussion following my talk and, in particular, from the remarks of Richard Zach. I have since had the advantage of further discussions with Zach and of reading his paper 1998; and I use his scholarshi
Gödel on Intuition and on Hilbert’s finitism
"... There are some puzzles about Gödel’s published and unpublished remarks concerning finitism that have led some commentators to believe that his conception of it was unstable, that he oscillated back and forth between different accounts of it. I want to discuss these puzzles and argue that, on the con ..."
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There are some puzzles about Gödel’s published and unpublished remarks concerning finitism that have led some commentators to believe that his conception of it was unstable, that he oscillated back and forth between different accounts of it. I want to discuss these puzzles and argue that, on the contrary, Gödel’s writings represent a smooth evolution, with just one rather small doublereversal, of his view of finitism. He used the term “finit ” (in German) or “finitary ” or “finitistic ” primarily to refer to Hilbert’s conception of finitary mathematics. On two occasions (only, as far as I know), the lecture notes for his lecture at Zilsel’s [Gödel, 1938a] and the lecture notes for a lecture at Yale [Gödel, *1941], he used it in a way that he knew—in the second case, explicitly—went beyond what Hilbert meant. Early in his career, he believed that finitism (in Hilbert’s sense) is openended, in the sense that no correct formal system can be known to formalize all finitist proofs and, in particular, all possible finitist proofs of consistency of firstorder number theory, P A; but starting in the Dialectica paper