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Reflections on Skolem's Paradox
"... In 1922, Thoraf Skolem published a paper titled "Some remarks on Axiomatized Set Theory". The paper presents a new proof of... This dissertation focuses almost exclusively on the first half of this project  i.e., the half which tries to expose an initial tension between Cantor's theorem and the Lö ..."
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In 1922, Thoraf Skolem published a paper titled "Some remarks on Axiomatized Set Theory". The paper presents a new proof of... This dissertation focuses almost exclusively on the first half of this project  i.e., the half which tries to expose an initial tension between Cantor's theorem and the LöwenheimSkolem theorem. I argue that, even on quite naive understandings of set theory and model theory, there is no such tension. Hence, Skolem's Paradox is not a genuine paradox, and there is very little reason to worry about (or even to investigate) the more extreme consequences that are supposed to follow from this paradox. The heart of my...
IS SET THEORY INDISPENSABLE?
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"... Abstract. Although ZermeloFraenkel set theory (ZFC) is generally accepted as the appropriate foundation for modern mathematics, proof theorists have known for decades that virtually all mainstream mathematics can actually be formalized in much weaker systems which are essentially numbertheoretic i ..."
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Abstract. Although ZermeloFraenkel set theory (ZFC) is generally accepted as the appropriate foundation for modern mathematics, proof theorists have known for decades that virtually all mainstream mathematics can actually be formalized in much weaker systems which are essentially numbertheoretic in nature. Feferman has observed that this severely undercuts a famous argument of Quine and Putnam according to which set theoretic platonism is validated by the fact that mathematics is “indispensable ” for some successful scientific theories (since in fact ZFC is not needed for the mathematics that is currently used in science). I extend this critique in three ways: (1) not only is it possible to formalize core mathematics in these weaker systems, they are in important ways better suited to the task than ZFC; (2) an improved analysis of the prooftheoretic strength of predicative theories shows that most if not all of the already rare examples of mainstream theorems whose proofs are currently thought to require metaphysically substantial settheoretic principles actually do not; and