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Why sets?
 PILLARS OF COMPUTER SCIENCE: ESSAYS DEDICATED TO BORIS (BOAZ) TRAKHTENBROT ON THE OCCASION OF HIS 85TH BIRTHDAY, VOLUME 4800 OF LECTURE NOTES IN COMPUTER SCIENCE
, 2008
"... Sets play a key role in foundations of mathematics. Why? To what extent is it an accident of history? Imagine that you have a chance to talk to mathematicians from a faraway planet. Would their mathematics be setbased? What are the alternatives to the settheoretic foundation of mathematics? Besi ..."
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Sets play a key role in foundations of mathematics. Why? To what extent is it an accident of history? Imagine that you have a chance to talk to mathematicians from a faraway planet. Would their mathematics be setbased? What are the alternatives to the settheoretic foundation of mathematics? Besides, set theory seems to play a significant role in computer science; is there a good justification for that? We discuss these and some related issues.
On specifying truthconditions
 The Philosophical Review
, 2008
"... Consider a committalist—someone who believes that assertions of a sentence like ‘the number of the planets is 8 ’ carry commitment to numbers—and a noncommittalist—someone who believes that all it takes for assertions of this sentence to be correct is that there be eight planets. The committalist wa ..."
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Consider a committalist—someone who believes that assertions of a sentence like ‘the number of the planets is 8 ’ carry commitment to numbers—and a noncommittalist—someone who believes that all it takes for assertions of this sentence to be correct is that there be eight planets. The committalist wants to know more about the noncommittalist’s view. She understands what the noncommittalist thinks is required of the world in order for assertions of simple sentences like ‘the number of the planets is 8 ’ to be correct, but she wants to know how the proposal is supposed to work in general. Could the noncommittalist respond by supplying a recipe for translating each arithmetical sentence into a sentence that wears its ontological innocence on its sleave? Surprisingly, there is a precise and interesting sense in which the answer is ‘no’. We will see that when certain constraints are in place, it is impossible to specify an adequate translationmethod. Fortunately, there is a technique for specifying truthconditions that is not based on translation, and can be used to explain to the committalist what the noncommittalist thinks is required of the world in order for arithmetical assertions to be correct. I call it ‘the φ(w)technique’. A shortcoming of the φ(w)technique is that it is of limited dialectical
Quine's NF60 years on
, 1998
"... Sixty years ago in this journal, the distinguished American philosopher W.V. Quine published a novel approach to set theory. The title was New Foundations for Mathematical Logic [6]. The diamond anniversary is being commemorated by a workshop in Cambridge (England) and comes at a time of rapid incre ..."
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Sixty years ago in this journal, the distinguished American philosopher W.V. Quine published a novel approach to set theory. The title was New Foundations for Mathematical Logic [6]. The diamond anniversary is being commemorated by a workshop in Cambridge (England) and comes at a time of rapid increase of interest in the alternatives to the hitherto customary ZermeloFr"ankel set theory, which promises a new lease of life for the axiomatic system now known as `NF'; its creator remains in good health too. Although he is best known to a wider public for his philosophical writings, his most enduring and most concrete legacy for the next fifty years may well turn out to be his most mathematical: he gave us NF. Set theory is the study of sets, which are the simplest of all mathematical entities. Let us illustrate by constrasting sets with groups. Two distinct groups can have the same elements and yet be told apart by the way those elements are related. Sets are distinguished from all other mathematical fauna by the fact that a set is constituted solely by its members: two sets with the same members are the same set. To use a bit of jargon from another age, sets are properties in extension. As a result, all set theories have the axiom of extensionality: (8xy)(x = y! (8z)(z 2 x! z 2 y)): they differ in their views on which properties have extensions. Since set theory first sprang on the scene about a hundred years ago there has been a tendency to attempt to use this simplicity to simplify and illuminate the rest of mathematics by translating (perhaps a better word is implementing) it into set theory. After all, if we can represent all of mathematics as facts about these delightfully simple things, some facts about mathematics might become clear that would otherwise remain obscure. This same simplicity means that set theory is always a good topic on which to try out any new mathematical idea.
semantic
, 2012
"... Symmetry motivates a new consistent fragment of NF and an extension of NF with ..."
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Symmetry motivates a new consistent fragment of NF and an extension of NF with