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Philosophy of Mathemathics?

by sigurdW
Tags: mathemathics, philosophy
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Jul5-12, 12:51 PM
P: 27
Lets begin with the Philosophy of Cantor.

Here is a quote from wikipedia:

"Philosophy, religion and Cantor's mathematics

The concept of the existence of an actual infinity was an important shared concern within the realms of mathematics, philosophy and religion. Preserving the orthodoxy of the relationship between God and mathematics, although not in the same form as held by his critics, was long a concern of Cantor's. He directly addressed this intersection between these disciplines in the introduction to his Grundlagen einer allgemeinen Mannigfaltigkeitslehre, where he stressed the connection between his view of the infinite and the philosophical one. To Cantor, his mathematical views were intrinsically linked to their philosophical and theological implications—he identified the Absolute Infinite with God, and he considered his work on transfinite numbers to have been directly communicated to him by God, who had chosen Cantor to reveal them to the world.

Debate among mathematicians grew out of opposing views in the philosophy of mathematics regarding the nature of actual infinity. Some held to the view that infinity was an abstraction which was not mathematically legitimate, and denied its existence. Mathematicians from three major schools of thought (constructivism and its two offshoots, intuitionism and finitism) opposed Cantor's theories in this matter. For constructivists such as Kronecker, this rejection of actual infinity stems from fundamental disagreement with the idea that nonconstructive proofs such as Cantor's diagonal argument are sufficient proof that something exists, holding instead that constructive proofs are required. Intuitionism also rejects the idea that actual infinity is an expression of any sort of reality, but arrive at the decision via a different route than constructivism.
Firstly, Cantor's argument rests on logic to prove the existence of transfinite numbers as an actual mathematical entity, whereas intuitionists hold that mathematical entities cannot be reduced to logical propositions, originating instead in the intuitions of the mind.
Secondly, the notion of infinity as an expression of reality is itself disallowed in intuitionism, since the human mind cannot intuitively construct an infinite set. Mathematicians such as Brouwer and especially Poincaré adopted an intuitionist stance against Cantor's work. Citing the paradoxes of set theory as an example of its fundamentally flawed nature, Poincaré held that "most of the ideas of Cantorian set theory should be banished from mathematics once and for all."
Finally, Wittgenstein's attacks were finitist: he believed that Cantor's diagonal argument conflated the intension of a set of cardinal or real numbers with its extension, thus conflating the concept of rules for generating a set with an actual set."

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