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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
GÖDEL AND SET THEORY
"... Kurt Gödel (1906–1978) with his work on the constructible universe L established the relative consistency of the Axiom of Choice (AC) and the Continuum Hypothesis (CH). More broadly, he ensured the ascendancy of firstorder logic as the framework and a matter of method for set theory and secured the ..."
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Kurt Gödel (1906–1978) with his work on the constructible universe L established the relative consistency of the Axiom of Choice (AC) and the Continuum Hypothesis (CH). More broadly, he ensured the ascendancy of firstorder logic as the framework and a matter of method for set theory and secured the cumulative hierarchy view of the universe of sets. Gödel thereby transformed set theory and launched it with structured subject matter and specific methods of proof. In later years Gödel worked on a variety of settheoretic constructions and speculated about how problems might be settled with new axioms. We here chronicle this development from the point of view of the evolution of set theory as a field of mathematics. Much has been written, of course, about Gödel’s work in set theory, from textbook expositions to the introductory notes to his collected papers. The present account presents an integrated view of the historical and mathematical development as supported by his recently published lectures and correspondence. Beyond the surface of things we delve deeper into the mathematics. What emerges
On the Brightness of the Thomson Lamp. A Prolegomenon to Quantum Recursion Theory
, 2009
"... Some physical aspects related to the limit operations of the Thomson lamp are discussed. Regardless of the formally unbounded and even infinite number of “steps” involved, the physical limit has an operational meaning in agreement with the Abel sums of infinite series. The formal analogies to accele ..."
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Some physical aspects related to the limit operations of the Thomson lamp are discussed. Regardless of the formally unbounded and even infinite number of “steps” involved, the physical limit has an operational meaning in agreement with the Abel sums of infinite series. The formal analogies to accelerated (hyper) computers and the recursion theoretic diagonal methods are discussed. As quantum information is not bound by the mutually exclusive states of classical bits, it allows a consistent representation of fixed point states of the diagonal operator. In an effort to reconstruct the selfcontradictory feature of diagonalization, a generalized diagonal method allowing no quantum fixed points is proposed.
Lieber Herr Bernays!, Lieber Herr Gödel! Gödel on finitism, constructivity and Hilbert’s program
"... The correspondence between Paul Bernays and Kurt Gödel is one of the most extensive in the two volumes of Gödel’s collected works devoted to his letters of (primarily) scientific, philosophical and historical interest. It ranges from 1930 to 1975 and deals with a rich body of logical and philosophic ..."
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The correspondence between Paul Bernays and Kurt Gödel is one of the most extensive in the two volumes of Gödel’s collected works devoted to his letters of (primarily) scientific, philosophical and historical interest. It ranges from 1930 to 1975 and deals with a rich body of logical and philosophical issues, including the incompleteness theorems, finitism, constructivity, set theory, the philosophy of mathematics, and postKantian philosophy, and contains Gödel’s thoughts on many topics that are not expressed elsewhere. In addition, it testifies to their lifelong warm personal relationship. I have given a detailed synopsis of the Bernays Gödel correspondence, with explanatory background, in my introductory note to it in Vol. IV of Gödel’s Collected Works, pp. 4179. 1 My purpose here is to focus on only one group of interrelated topics from these exchanges, namely the light that it⎯together with assorted published and unpublished articles and lectures by Gödel⎯throws on his perennial preoccupations with the limits of finitism, its relations to constructivity, and the significance of his incompleteness theorems for Hilbert’s program. 2 In that connection, this piece has an important subtext, namely the shadow of Hilbert that loomed over Gödel from the beginning to the end of his career. 1 The five volumes of Gödel’s Collected Works (19862003) are referred to below, respectively, as CW I,
WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELFEVIDENT: BUT WHAT DO WE MEAN BY THAT?
"... Mathematicians at first distrusting the new ideas (Cantor made his first discoveries in 1873), then got used to them;... Waismann (1982, p. 102) Abstract. At the beginning of Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik (§2) [1884], Frege observes that “it is in the nature of mathematics to prefer proof, where pro ..."
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Mathematicians at first distrusting the new ideas (Cantor made his first discoveries in 1873), then got used to them;... Waismann (1982, p. 102) Abstract. At the beginning of Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik (§2) [1884], Frege observes that “it is in the nature of mathematics to prefer proof, where proof is possible”. This, of course, is true, but thinkers differ on why it is that mathematicians prefer proof. And what of propositions for which no proof is possible? What of axioms? This talk explores various notions of selfevidence, and the role they play in various foundational systems, notably those of Frege and Zermelo. I argue that both programs are undermined at a crucial point, namely when selfevidence is supported by holistic and even pragmatic considerations. At the beginning of Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik (§2) (1884), Gottlob Frege observes that “it is in the nature of mathematics to prefer proof, where proof is possible”, noting that “Euclid gives proofs of many things which anyone would concede him without question”. Frege sets himself the task of providing proofs of such basic arithmetic propositions as