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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2answers
572 views

Ontological status of some “sets” in ZFC [closed]

Let $\phi$ be an undecidable statement of ZFC set theory, for example let's take continuum hypothesis. What is the ontological status of the "set" $X=\bigl\{x\in\{1,2\}:x=1\text{ or }(x=2\text{ and ...
2
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2answers
1k views

In What Sense is Set Theory a 'Foundation' for Mathematics? [closed]

In what sense is set theory a foundation for mathematics? To my mind (for what that is worth), there are at least three (somewhat) distinct senses in which set 'theory' (I put "theory" in scare ...
47
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7answers
2k views

How closed-form conjectures are made?

Recently I posted a conjecture at Math.SE: $$\int_0^\infty\ln\frac{J_\mu(x)^2+Y_\mu(x)^2}{J_\nu(x)^2+Y_\nu(x)^2}\mathrm dx\stackrel{?}{=}\frac{\pi}{2}(\mu^2-\nu^2),$$ where $J_\mu(x)$ and $Y_\mu(x)$ ...
10
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6answers
1k views

Intuitionistic logic as quantization of classical logic?

A classically trained mathematician is more likely to be familiar (at least anecdotally) with an area of mathematical physics such as deformation quantization than with intuitionistic logic. It is ...
17
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2answers
943 views

Age of Stochasticity?

One user on MSE made an interesting question, which was unanswered so I suggested him to post it here but he refused for personal reasons and said I could ask it here. The question is this: Today ...
46
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17answers
9k views

Is rigour just a ritual that most mathematicians wish to get rid of if they could?

"No". That was my answer till this afternoon! "Mathematics without proofs isn't really mathematics at all" probably was my longer answer. Yet, I am a mathematics educator who was one of the panelists ...
9
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3answers
932 views

Is there an observer dependent mathematics? [closed]

Is there any field of mathematics that deals with the role of the observer? E.g., some formulation in which a set is changed, in some unspecified way, when it is observed? Or maybe some philosophy of ...
17
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1answer
1k views

Euler's mathematics in terms of modern theories?

Some aspects of Euler's work were formalized in terms of modern infinitesimal theories by Laugwitz, McKinzie, Tuckey, and others. Referring to the latter, G. Ferraro claims that "one can see in ...
1
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0answers
182 views

A question regarding Koepke' s Ordinal Computability in HOD

Consider the following theorem of Koepke-Koerwien-Siders: "A set x of ordinals is ordinal computable [either by ordinal Turing machines or ordinal register machines--my comment] if and only if it is ...
10
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6answers
2k views

Non-constructive proofs vs. efficient algorithms

My question concerns what is meant by "nonconstructive", and whether it has ever been defined in terms of computational complexity. The wikipedia article on constructive proof begins, "a constructive ...
24
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7answers
4k views

Excellent mathematical explanations

In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy there is an entry on mathematical explanation. The basic philosophical question is: What makes a proof explanatory? Two main "models" of mathematical ...
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4answers
1k views

Statements which were given as axioms, which later turned out to be false.

I know that early axiomatizations of real arithmetic (in the first half of the nineteenth century) were often inadequate. For example, the earliest axiomatizations did not include a completeness ...
3
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0answers
298 views

A Question Regarding Boolean-valued Models

What were the intuitions motivating the creation (or discovery, if you will) of Boolean-valued models? I have searched for the Scott-Solovay paper on the subject, but to no avail. There also seems to ...
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3answers
609 views

Sets = structured sets without structure

Motivation There is presumably no single and widely accepted formal definition of structured sets = sets plus structure based on sets as primitive objects, but several approaches are around. See e.g. ...
2
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2answers
582 views

Has the notion of “space” been reconsidered in 20th century?

The original title, "has the bases of geometry been reconsidered in 20th century" of this question refers to Riemann's paper "On the Hypotheses which lie at the Bases of Geometry", an English version ...
33
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10answers
3k views

Believing the Conjectures

In Believing the axioms (I and II), Penelope Maddy proposes five "rules of thumb" that she then uses to justify large cardinal axioms in set theory. These extrinsic rules are modeled after the ...
4
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1answer
1k views

Are the Foundations of Mathematical Logic Shaky? [closed]

The mathematics community at large seems pretty satisfied right now with the common practice of 1. starting with some axioms and 2. deriving theorems from them by employing some logic. All mathematics ...
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5answers
1k views

How to tell a paradox from a “paradox”?

Russell's paradox showed that naive set theory leads to a contradiction. This was something that was taken seriously and caused a lot of work. Now, Banach–Tarski paradox is arises from a result that ...
7
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4answers
782 views

Does there exist a non-trivial Ultrafinitist set theory?

Does there exist a set theory T-which has not yet been proved to be inconsistent-and in which one can prove the existence of (1) the empty set (2) sets that are singletons and (3) sets which have ...
15
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12answers
2k views

2D Problems Which are Easier to Solve in 3D

It sometimes happens that 1D problems are easier to solve by somehow adding a dimension. For example, we convert linear differential equations for a real unknown to a complex unknown (to use complex ...
5
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1answer
766 views

intensional equality in type theory

I want to know why we add an intensional equality in type theory to definitional equality ? What is the aim with this intensional equality ? thanks
4
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0answers
449 views

sine and Archimedes' derivation of the area of the circle

The elementary "opposite over hypotenuse" definition of the sine function defines the sine of an angle, not a real number. As discussed in the article "A Circular Argument" [Fred Richman, The College ...
6
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3answers
1k views

What is the status of irrational numbers within finitism/ultrafinitism?

According to constructivism a mathematical object to prove that it exists". There are several formulas to calculate pi, such as: so I take it ...
12
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6answers
834 views

Proof by `universal receiver'

Anyone following the news knows about the major breakthoughs that have taken place recently in $3$-manifold topology. These have come via a route whose big-picture I find to be conceptually ...
8
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8answers
2k views

ULTRAINFINITISM, or a step beyond the transfinite

Cantor has, in the immortal words of D. Hilbert, given all of us a paradise (or perhaps, I would rather say, a great vacation spot), the TRANSFINITE. $\aleph_0, \aleph_1,\aleph_2\dots$ the lists ...
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0answers
474 views

Arguments against Reductio ad Absurdum [closed]

Could Reductio ad Absurdum not be consireded a valid proof method? Are there any compelling arguments against it, or at it's favor? I feel like I am assuming some metamathematical hypothesis about my ...
2
votes
1answer
236 views

comprehension and ideal elements

A not uncommon thought in philosophy is that we should distinguish (in philosophy, anyway) between "sparse" ("real", "serious") and "abundant" ("ideal", "superficial") properties/classes and ...
45
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8answers
6k views

Have we ever lost any mathematics?

The history of mathematics over the last 200 years has many occasions when the fundamental assumptions of an area have been shown to be flawed, or even wrong. Yet I cannot think of any examples where, ...
1
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1answer
196 views

Mathematical analysis of Lewisian concepts, esp. natural properties

David Lewis was one of the great philosophers of our time. He was a genuine philosopher, his focus was on theoretical metaphysics. And he had something to say about mathematics. His last book - he ...
25
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14answers
4k views

Essential reads in the philosophy of mathematics and set theory

I am graduate student and have a decent understanding of logic and set theory. Recently I have got interested in the philosophy of mathematics and set theory. I have read a number of papers by ...
4
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0answers
853 views

Which mathematical questions are objectively true or false? [closed]

Which parts of mathematics are objectively true or false like finite arithmetic and which are only true, false or undecidable relative to a particular axiom system such as Euclidean geometry? ...
0
votes
2answers
956 views

Is Algebraic Geometry really natural? [closed]

Dear All! I recently had a conversation with one mathematician who reckons that all sorts of combinatorial results are nothing compared to the things done in the algebraic geometry. As I do not have ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

History of Logic Development

Where can I find a book which explains the development of modern logic, e.g. Tarski, Frege, Peano, up untill Wittgenstein, Russel?
1
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0answers
392 views

a priori grounds of mathematics [closed]

Hi, from the title of the question you may guess I'm new to the site, and I am. Even though I've read the FAQ and I know that this isn't the place for such open questions (I believe it is open, but ...
8
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3answers
591 views

Variable-centric logical foundation of calculus

Since calculus originated long before our modern function concept, much of our language of calculus still focuses on variables and their interrelationships rather than explicitly on functions. For ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

In what ways did Leibniz's philosophy foresee modern mathematics?

Leibniz was a noted polymath who was deeply interested in philosophy as well as mathematics, among other things. From my mathematical readings I have the impression that Leibniz's stature as a ...
7
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0answers
971 views

Is there a finite-dimensional vector space whose dimension cannot be found? [closed]

Is there a finite-dimensional vector space whose dimension cannot be found? Assume, we have somehow constructed a vector space whose dimension is finite, but yet unknown. Is there always an algorithm ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Unprovable sentence about integers

Is there any natural* statement S about the natural integers such that if PA contains no contradictions then neither PA+S nor PA+not S contains a contradiction? If unknown, where can I read about the ...
8
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0answers
2k views

Group Theory, Game Theory, a bit of Philosophy and a post in Tao's blog

I've decided to write this post after reading the incredibly beautiful and highly recomended post by Terence Tao ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

A meta-mathematical question related to Hilbert tenth problem

I am reading Bjorn Poonen's very nice survey on Hilbert's Tenth problem (http://www-math.mit.edu/~poonen/papers/uniform.pdf), and while I believe I understand the mathematics well, I have widespread ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is beauty at the high school level even possible? [closed]

This question is a follow up to 74841, and follows from a suggestion by Gian-Carlo Rota that beauty as judged by the educated public differs from that experienced by mathematicians (he gives Euclidean ...
13
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5answers
2k views

What is the “reason” for modularity results?

The question is a little wishy-washy, but I take my cues from other popular questions that relate to the philosophy behind the mathematics as Why do Groups and Abelian Groups feel so different? . I ...
2
votes
1answer
837 views

Notion of Truth and Axioms

Hello, The proofs in logic often use the notion of truth. Can we ignore the notion of truth, if we add axioms to the Peano's axioms ? Is it possible to prove Gödel's first incompleteness theorem ...
39
votes
5answers
3k views

How to resolve a disagreement about a mathematical proof?

I am having a problem which should not exist. I am reading what I believe to be an important paper by a person - let me call him/her $A$ - whom I believe to be a serious and talented mathematician. A ...
18
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4answers
2k views

Are proper classes objects?

Many of us presume that mathematics studies objects. In agreement with this, set theorists often say that they study the well founded hereditarily extensional objects generated ex nihilo by the ...
6
votes
1answer
914 views

How are mathematical objects defined from an ultrafinitist perspective?

I remember attending a lecture given by an ultrafinitist who denied that curves are a set of points, he would only say that any particular point may or not be on the curve. Similarly for algebraic or ...
12
votes
1answer
846 views

Why should I believe the Singular Cardinal Hypothesis?

The Singular Cardinal Hypothesis (SCH) is the statement that $\kappa^{cf(\kappa)} = \kappa^+ \cdot 2^{cf(\kappa)}$ for every singular cardinal $\kappa$ (or various equivalent statements). It is ...
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1answer
965 views

Is it possible to construct a finite mathematical universe? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there any formal foundation to ultrafinitism? Very recently I have come across the skeptic opinions of a school of mathematicians(ultrafinitist) over a physically ...
12
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5answers
3k views

What should philosophers know about math? [closed]

I know, I know... this is not a technical question. Nevertheless, I believe this is the right place to ask such question. I am sure many of you read about philosophy, including philosophy of ...
13
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3answers
976 views

Are there examples of nonconstructive metaproofs?

This came up in a question on the xkcd forums. Is it possible to have a nonconstructive metaproof, i.e. a proof that there exists a proof in some formal system which does not construct said proof? Are ...