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Does Reductive Proof Theory Have A Viable Rationale?
 Erkenntnis
, 2000
"... The goals of reduction and reductionism in the natural sciences are mainly explanatory in character, while those in mathematics are primarily foundational. In contrast to global reductionist programs which aim to reduce all of mathematics to one supposedly "universal " system or foundational sch ..."
Abstract

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The goals of reduction and reductionism in the natural sciences are mainly explanatory in character, while those in mathematics are primarily foundational. In contrast to global reductionist programs which aim to reduce all of mathematics to one supposedly "universal " system or foundational scheme, reductive proof theory pursues local reductions of one formal system to another which is more justified in some sense. In this direction, two specific rationales have been proposed as aims for reductive proof theory, the constructive consistencyproof rationale and the foundational reduction rationale. However, recent advances in proof theory force one to consider the viability of these rationales. Despite the genuine problems of foundational significance raised by that work, the paper concludes with a defense of reductive proof theory at a minimum as one of the principal means to lay out what rests on what in mathematics. In an extensive appendix to the paper, various reducti...
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 There are some puzzles about Gödel’s published and unpublished remarks concerning finitism that have led some commentators to believe that his conception of it was unstable, that he oscillated back and forth between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There are some puzzles about Gödel’s published and unpublished remarks concerning finitism that have led some commentators to believe that his conception of it was unstable, that he oscillated back and forth between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