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24
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14answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
10answers
4k views

Is PA consistent? do we know it?

1) (By Goedel's) One can not prove, in PA, a formula that can be interpreted to express the consistency of PA. (Hopefully I said it right. Specialists correct me, please). 2) There are proofs ...
41
votes
17answers
8k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
315 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 ...
22
votes
7answers
2k views

Supervenience in mathematics

I'm not quite sure if this is the right place to ask, and if this is the right way to ask, but I dare. In philosophy (of mind, e.g.) the concept of supervenience is used: "Supervenience [is] used ...
56
votes
21answers
10k 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
944 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 ...
60
votes
18answers
7k views

Can a mathematical definition be wrong?

This question originates from a bit of history. In the first paper on quantum Turing machines, the authors left a key uniformity condition out of their definition. Three mathematicians subsequently ...
50
votes
3answers
6k views

Nelson's program to show inconsistency of ZF

At the end of the paper Division by three by Peter G. Doyle and John H. Conway, the authors say: Not that we believe there really are any such things as infinite sets, or that the Zermelo-Fraenkel ...
6
votes
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 ...
12
votes
1answer
528 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
181 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Interesting meta-meta-mathematical theorems?

The Goedel incompleteness theorems can be considered meta-mathematical theorems, as they are "written" in a meta-theory and "talk" about properties of a class of formal theories. The following may be ...
6
votes
2answers
449 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
832 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
89 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. $n=1,...,6$, ...
44
votes
34answers
10k views

nontrivial theorems with trivial proofs

A while back I saw posted on someone's office door a statement attributed to some famous person, saying that it is an instance of the callousness of youth to think that a theorem is trivial because ...
12
votes
3answers
462 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
358 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
1answer
1k views

Martin's “Philosophical Issues about the Hierarchy of Sets”

Some months ago (October 2010), in the context of the Workshop on Set Theory and the Philosophy of Mathematics, Professor Donald A. Martin gave a talk entitled "Philosophical issues about the ...
14
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
49
votes
12answers
9k views

Logic in mathematics and philosophy

What are the relations between logic as an area of (modern) philosophy and mathematical logic. The world "modern" refers to 20th century and later, and I am curious mainly about the second half of ...
2
votes
3answers
721 views

Assessing effectiveness of (epsilon, delta) definitions [closed]

There is much discussion both in the education community and the mathematics community concerning the challenge of (epsilon, delta) type definitions in calculus and the student reception of them. The ...
1
vote
2answers
527 views

What are trivial objects, in general?

Trivial objects show up in most every branch of mathematics, and we all know lots of examples: the trivial group, ring, vector space, module over a ring, graph, knot, homomorphism from one object to ...
3
votes
2answers
281 views

Is there a source linking Robinson's work in wing theory with his theory of infinitesimals?

Abraham Robinson worked in applied mathematics for several decades. MathSciNet lists 12 articles by Robinson in wing theory. His production included the book Robinson, A.; Laurmann, J. A. Wing ...
14
votes
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 ...
9
votes
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
541 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
2
votes
0answers
98 views

Is there an universal (dis)similarity measure between two structures?

I'm always wondering is there an universal (dis)similarity measure between two structures (let's say between two undirected simple graphs)? I mean, not "the measure with universal parameter that we ...
4
votes
1answer
338 views

Fundamental Problems in Mathematics that, without Computer Sciences, would not be resolved? [closed]

Could you please give examples of fundamental questions in mathematics (let us say, pure mathematics) which were resolved fundamentally by the use of computers? More precisely, are there examples that ...
43
votes
2answers
5k views

Lawvere's “Some thoughts on the future of category theory.”

In Lecture Notes in Mathematics 1488, Lawvere writes the introduction to the Proceedings for a 1990 conference in Como. In this article, Lawvere, the inventor of Toposes and Algebraic Theories, ...
12
votes
6answers
812 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
446 views

Are descriptive and ontological notions of equality equal? [closed]

‎Let ‎$‎‎a$ ‎and ‎‎$‎‎b$ ‎are ‎two "‎objects". ‎What ‎is ‎the ‎meaning ‎of‎ ‎‎$a=b‎‎$‎? This is one of the deepest problems of philosophy and logic because one needs a complete information about ...
0
votes
3answers
545 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. ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Should there be a true model of set theory?

As I understand it, there is a program in set theory to produce an ultimate, canonical model of set theory which, among other things, positively answers the Continuum Hypothesis and various questions ...
7
votes
0answers
460 views

Has anyone pursued Frege's idea of numbers as second-order concepts?

Gottlob Frege was a pivotal figure in the history of mathematical logic. He gave an analysis of numbers that proceeded along roughly the following lines, in his books "The Foundations of Arithmetic" ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Use of Conjectures to Prove a Theorem

Name a theorem T that has a proof based upon the truth of a conjecture C, and also has another proof based upon the falsehood of the same conjecture C, but for longtime has no known direct proof that ...
15
votes
10answers
2k views

An example of a proof that is explanatory but not beautiful? (or vice versa)

This question has a philosophical bent, but hopefully it will evoke straightforward, mathematical answers that would be appropriate for this list (like my earlier question about beautiful proofs ...
31
votes
7answers
5k views

Arguments against large cardinals

I started to learn about large cardinals a while ago, and I read that the existence, and even the consistency of the existence of an inaccessible cardinal, i.e. a limit cardinal which is additionally ...
10
votes
2answers
490 views

Are simplicial sets the intended model of HoTT?

While thinking about Jason Rute's question, I wondered if there was an intended model for HoTT. The main candidate for the intended model are simplicial sets, where Vladimir Voevodsky first observed ...
5
votes
2answers
446 views

What is the impact on Godels theorem of Paraconsistency?

Russells paradox forced a restriction of the natural abstraction principle (that every predicate determines a set) so that Set Theory could be consistent. The standard one being ZF. However ...
44
votes
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 $Y_\mu(x)$ ...
1
vote
0answers
99 views

A Question Regarding Productive Sets in the Koepke-Koerwien System SO (Sets of Ordinals)

In their paper "The Theory of Sets of Ordinals" (arXiv), Koepke and Koerwien propose a theory SO axiomatizing the class of sets of ordinals in a model of ZFC and show that SO and ZFC are ...
1
vote
2answers
532 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
votes
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 ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Consistency strength needed for applied mathematics

Given that we can never proof the consistency of a theory for the foundations of mathematics in a weaker system, one could seriously doubt whether any of the commonly used foundational frameworks (ZFC ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Math History Question about the exponential function

While tutoring a student recently, I have come across the situation of explain logarithms by first introducing functions of the form $$f(x)= a^x$$ where $a \ge 0,x\in \mathbb{R}$. My student then ...
15
votes
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 ...
19
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 ...