Philosophical aspects of logic and set theory; truth status of mathematical axioms; Philosophy of Mathematics; philosophical aspects of mathematics in general; relation of mathematics to philosophy; etc. Consider also posting at http://philosophy.stackexchange.com/, where philosophy-of-mathematics ...

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22
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2answers
2k views

Why is this new result such a big deal?

This popular article reports a recent result in reverse mathematics, showing that a certain theorem in Ramsey theory is provable from RCA$_0$, the base theory in SOSOA. Then there are a bunch of ...
2
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2answers
347 views

What are the sense and reference of the propositions $R \notin R$, $R \in R$, where $R=\{x \mid x \notin x\}$ in Frege's Grundgesetze?

In the paper, Aldo Antonelli and Robert May, Frege's new science, Notre Dame J. Form. Log. 41 (2000), no. 3, 242–-270, MR 1943495. the authors give the following quote of Frege, from his paper ...
22
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3answers
1k views

Mathematicians with Aphantasia (Inability to Visualize Things in One's Mind)

Are there any mathematicians with aphantasia? If so, could they please elaborate upon what their experience with mathematics is like? I realize that this question probably falls outside of the scope ...
1
vote
1answer
203 views

Have some works by Émile Borel ever been translated from French to English or another foreign language?

I plan to submit a couple of questions around Émile Borel's works in probability theory to MO. In this scope, I'd like to know if the following works have ever been translated from French to English ...
4
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1answer
194 views

Identity types: What makes Intuitionistic Type Theory *intuitionistic*?

In the opening passage of Martin-Löf's (1975) he famously says that "the theory of types with which we shall be concerned is intended to be a full scale system for formalizing intuitionistic ...
14
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1answer
474 views

Is there a class of mathematical structures with non-isomorphic natural representations as a standard Borel space?

Background. The field of Borel equivalence relation theory provides a robust, unifying theory that organizes most of the classification problems of classical mathematics into a hierarchy, allowing us ...
6
votes
1answer
430 views

Are there 'finitistic' nonrecursive functions (assuming Church's Thesis is false)?

[Note: In what follows, I will be using the same type of argument Laszlo Kalmar did in his paper "An Argument Against the Plausibility of Church's Thesis" found in Constructivity in Mathematics, ...
2
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1answer
502 views

Can Turing machines clarify mathematical, philosophical, and physical existence?

From Harvey Friedman's manuscript on "Order Invariant Relations and Incompleteness": DEFINITION 4.4. A $\Pi_1^0$ sentence is a sentence asserting that some given Turing machine never halts at the ...
10
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3answers
558 views

The universe of sets, existential quantification in set theory

Yesterday, I posted a question that was received in a different way than I intended it. I would like to ask it again by adding some context. In ZF one can prove $\not\exists x (\forall y (y\in x)).$ ...
1
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1answer
172 views

In what sense is the “descending chain principle” for ordinals less than $\epsilon_0$ 'infinitary?

In the introduction to his paper "Assignment of Ordinals to Terms for Primitive Recursive Functionals of Finite Type", W.A. Howard writes: Gentzen...showed that the consistency of first order ...
1
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0answers
206 views

The theory of frames and locales as elementary topology [closed]

In What is elementary geometry? (pdf) Alfred Tarski defined elementary geometry to be that part of Euclidean geometry which can be formulated and established without the help of any ...
4
votes
0answers
301 views

About the “semi-classical” view of Prof. Weaver and Prof. Feferman [closed]

In the thread "Is platonism regarding arithmetic consistent with the multiverse view in set theory?", Prof. Hamkins writes: The view you are suggesting is something close to what is held by ...
7
votes
1answer
434 views

Taller models of ZFC

This question is somewhat related to a previous one, where I asked for new forms of infinite beyond the cardinal hierarchy. Using forcing techniques, at least the ones I know of, one starts from a ...
8
votes
2answers
756 views

Is platonism regarding arithmetic consistent with the multiverse view in set theory?

A "truth" platonist for arithmetic believes, given a statement in the language of arithmetic, that the problem whether the statement is true has a definite answer. Prof. Hamkins has argued for a ...
1
vote
1answer
159 views

What restriction(s) of Goedel's primitive recursive functionals is (are) necessary and sufficient to prove the consistency of $PRA$

It is well known that one can use Goedel's primitive recursive functionals of finite type to prove the consistency of $PA$ (Peano Arithmetic). As such, one can certainly use them to prove the ...
5
votes
3answers
676 views

What does the axiom of replacement mean and why should I believe it?

Here Professor Blass describes the following cumulative hierarchy of sets: Begin with some non-set entities called atoms ("some" could be "none" if you want a world consisting exclusively of ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the modern consensus on the difficulty of infinitesimals?

At a related thread at MSE an expert in reverse mathematics noted that "As the modern consensus is that only nonstandard models have infinitesimals, it will be quite challenging to give a concrete ...
3
votes
1answer
193 views

A question regarding the consistency of Nelson's Predicative Arithmetic

Following Dan Willard (from his paper "Self-Verifying Axiom Systems, the Incompleteness Theorem, and Related Reflection Systems", found on his homepage, pdf here): "Define an axiom system $\alpha$ ...
13
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0answers
496 views

Arguments against Freiling's argument against Continuum Hypothesis

Freiling's axiom of symmetry ($\sf AS$) is known as a justification for falsity of Continuum Hypothesis. Freiling in his 1986 paper, Axioms of symmetry: throwing darts at the real number line, ...
1
vote
1answer
266 views

Does mathematical induction presuppose the existence of a completed infinity?

Consider the following statement by Edward Nelson--this from the "Outline" of his 'proof' of the inconsistency of $PA$ (which Terry Tao found to contain an error): "The induction axiom schema of ...
2
votes
0answers
111 views

Some questions regarding an alteration of Grzegorczyk's theory of concatenation, $\operatorname{TC}$

Consider Grzegorczyk's concatenation theory $\operatorname{TC}$, a "weak theory of words over the two letter alphabet $\Sigma=\{a,b\}$" (this from Grzegorczyk and Zdanowski's paper Undecidability and ...
1
vote
2answers
364 views

Was “arithmetical translation” (coding in the Goedel sense) ever a part of Hilbert's Program?

Was "arithmetical translation" (that is, coding in the Goedel sense) ever a part of Hilbert's Program? I ask this question for several reasons: i) it gives the numerals |, ||, |||,.... an ersatz ...
9
votes
1answer
393 views

Examples of abstractions that did *not* turn out to be useful [closed]

I’ve read (but cannot find any reference now) that new abstract mathematical concepts like set theory and – not too long ago – category theory were in their time often considered too abstract to be ...
53
votes
3answers
4k views

What was Hilbert's view of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems?

According to Solomon Feferman, in his slide presentation "Three Problems for Mathematics", Hilbert wrote (in regards to Gödel's second incompleteness theorem): ...the end goal [is] to establish as ...
2
votes
0answers
108 views

A question regarding an analogue of the Kleene $T$-predicate for Koepke's ordinal computability

Does Koepke's notion of ordinal computability admit an analogue of the Kleene $T$-predicate? If so, is the existence of such a $T$-predicate independent of $ZFC$? Also, if one assumes the existence ...
2
votes
0answers
73 views

Which self-reference restrictions can be weakened in probabilstic logic?

This work suggests that there is some generalization of Truth in terms of probability, which can be definable within the logic itself. Is where any other thorems on self-reference restrictions, which ...
28
votes
7answers
2k views

Why should we believe in the axiom of regularity?

Today I started reading Maddy's Believing the axioms. As I knew beforehand, it includes some discussion of ZFC axioms. However, I really hoped for a more extensive discussion of axiom of ...
0
votes
2answers
311 views

A question regarding the relation between Freiling's Axiom of Symmetry and real-valued measurable cardnals

A major argument against Freiling's Axiom of Symmetry is the following (this from the wikipedia article of the same name): "The naive probabalistic notion used by Freiling tacitly assumes that there ...
3
votes
1answer
261 views

Information theory from negative probability

Szekely provides a convincing argument of negative probability here: http://www.wilmott.com/pdfs/100609_gjs.pdf What does a reformulation of classical information theory built from negative ...
0
votes
1answer
223 views

A question regarding extendible cardinals and a result of M. Magidor

The following definitions and Theorems come from M. Magidor's paper "On the Role of Supercompact and Extendible Cardinals in Logic" (Israel J. Math., Vol. 10, 1971): "Definition: Logic is called ...
4
votes
1answer
278 views

Plausibility argument for a measurable cardinal

The following question is not mathematically precise but perhaps of some philosophical interest. A typical plausibility argument for assuming the existence of inaccessible cardinals goes as follows: ...
1
vote
1answer
340 views

Is second-order ZFC categorical with regard to its proper class models

Second-order ZFC offers partial categoricity in the sense that, given any two models, one of them must be isomorphic to an initial segment of the other [1]. However, this leaves questions regarding ...
32
votes
8answers
5k views

Uninteresting questions with interesting answers [closed]

What are best examples of questions in mathematics that are not interesting until one knows the answers, whose answers themselves are what is interesting? The thing that prompts me to post this is ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Philosophical arguments in defense (or against) large cardinals

The question is essentially what is asked in the title. I split it into two parts (A) (Arguments supporting the existence of large cardinals) What are the main philosophical arguments in defense ...
7
votes
1answer
257 views

Is $ACA_0$ + `True Arithmetic exists' interpretable in $ACA$?

Maybe someone here can help me with a question concerning second-order arithmetic. Consider the system $ACA_T := ACA_0 + \exists X \forall x (x \in X \leftrightarrow T(x))$, where $T(x)$ is a ...
14
votes
2answers
972 views

nonstandard models and mathematical theorems

Is there a first order statement about the natural numbers (not nonstandard analysis) such that the truth of the statement is easier to see in a nonstandard model? In other words, do nonstandard ...
11
votes
2answers
935 views

Is there a compendium of the consistency strength between the most important formal theories?

Preliminar Notions: A formal system is a tuple $(\Sigma,G,A,R)$ where $\Sigma$ is an alphabet (set of symbols), $G$ is a formal grammar on $\Sigma$ that generates a formal language $L$ (set of well ...
2
votes
0answers
238 views

Interpretation of Shannon Entropy Application

Consider a collection of increasing positive integers $\{a_i\}_{i=1}^m$ and the distribution $p_i=\frac{a_i}{\sum_{i=1}^ma_i}$. Let entropy of $\mathcal{A}=\{a_i\}_{i=1}^m$ be given by ...
6
votes
3answers
446 views

Extensionality in HoTT versus extensionality in internal language of a category

What's the extension of judgmental identity in HoTT (homotopy type theory)? The Martin-Löf intensional dependent type theory with identity types is called (definitionally) extensional if the ...
71
votes
21answers
13k views

Has philosophy ever clarified mathematics?

I've recently been reading some standard textbooks on the philosophy of mathematics, and I've become quite frustrated that (surely due to my own limitations) I don't seem to be gleaning any ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

The impact of large cardinals in mathematics [closed]

What are the main applications of large cardinals in ordinary mathematics, and what is the philosophy behind using them. In particular: Question 1. What is the philosophy behind accepting large ...
12
votes
1answer
803 views

Time in Girard's Geometry of Interaction

Jean-Yves Girard writes at the end of his paper "Towards a Geometry of Interaction", page 105, that we have three intuitions about the nature of time: time is logic modulo the order of rules, time ...
-4
votes
1answer
266 views

Universal quantifier in Russell's Theory of descriptions - Who is the UNIVERSE? [closed]

To moderators: Please don't delete or migrate this thread: It's by no means PURE PHILOSOPHICAL, but mostly a mathematical logic question! In Russell's 1905 paper "on denoting" in which he introduces ...
6
votes
2answers
598 views

Can we define an “empirically generic” real number?

Summary: My question, in a nutshell, is how we should intuitively imagine a generic real number (as opposed to a random one), and whether we can construct numbers which empirically behave like generic ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Meta$^{n{-}th}$ mathematics [duplicate]

Metamathematics has a reasonably clear connotation, enough to have a Wikipedia page, with Gödel, Tarski, and Turing playing leading roles; Kleene's book (Introduction to Metamathematics (Amazon ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

What's special about the Simplex category?

I have been wondering lately what makes simplicial sets 'tick'. Edited The category $\Delta$can be viewed as the category of standard $n$-simplices and order preserving simplicial maps. The goal of ...
0
votes
0answers
107 views

Geometric interpretation of table with permutations and inversions

Let $T(n,k)$ is the number of permutations of numbers $1, ..., n$ and each of the permutations has $k$ inversions. We can consider a table for $T(n,k)$ for some $n$ and $k$. For eg. $n=1,...,6$, ...
13
votes
3answers
564 views

Formal/rigorous treatment of (im)predicativity/predicativism

There are several places on the web where one may find quite intuitively understandable accounts of (im)predicativity; here on MO I found two questions with very good detailed answers (Predicative ...
7
votes
1answer
582 views

Last Status of Feferman's Conjecture on Indefinite Value of Continuum

The "true" value of $2^{\aleph_0}$ is one of the most fundamental open questions of mathematics and its philosophy. Hundreds of set theoretic results during the last century don't say anything more ...
15
votes
6answers
3k views

What “forces” us to accept large cardinal axioms?

Large cardinal axioms are not provable using usual mathematical tools (developed in $\text{ZFC}$). Their non-existence is consistent with axioms of usual mathematics. It is provable that some of ...