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There seems to be a view that intuitionists not only take the Axiom of Choice (AC) to be true, but also believe it a consequence of their fundamental posits. Widespread or not, this view is largely mistaken. This article offers a brief, yet comprehensive, overview of the status of AC in various intuitionistic and constructivist systems. The survey makes it clear that the Axiom of Choice fails to be a theorem in most contexts and is even outright false in some important contexts. Of the systems surveyed, only intensional type theory renders AC a theorem, but the extent of AC in that theory does not include, for instance, real analysis. Only a small amount of extensionality is required in order for the obvious proof an intuitionist might offer for AC to break down.
One is often said to be reasoning well when they are reasoning logically. Many attempts to say what logical reasoning is have been proposed, but one commonly proposed system is first-order classical logic. This Element will examine the basics of first-order classical logic and discuss some surrounding philosophical issues. The first half of the Element develops a language for the system, as well as a proof theory and model theory. The authors provide theorems about the system they developed, such as unique readability and the Lindenbaum lemma. They also discuss the meta-theory for the system, and provide several results there, including proving soundness and completeness theorems. The second half of the Element compares first-order classical logic to other systems: classical higher order logic, intuitionistic logic, and several paraconsistent logics which reject the law of ex falso quodlibet.
One prominent criticism of the abstractionist program is the so-called Bad Company objection. The complaint is that abstraction principles cannot in general be a legitimate way to introduce mathematical theories, since some of them are inconsistent. The most notorious example, of course, is Frege’s Basic Law V. A common response to the objection suggests that an abstraction principle can be used to legitimately introduce a mathematical theory precisely when it is stable: when it can be made true on all sufficiently large domains. In this paper, we raise a worry for this response to the Bad Company objection. We argue, perhaps surprisingly, that it requires very strong assumptions about the range of the second-order quantifiers; assumptions that the abstractionist should reject.
Clarke and Beck import certain assumptions about the nature of numbers. Although these are widespread within research on number cognition, they are highly contentious among philosophers of mathematics. In this commentary, we isolate and critically evaluate one core assumption: the identity thesis.
In the literature, predicativism is connected not only with the Vicious Circle Principle but also with the idea that certain totalities are inherently potential. To explain the connection between these two aspects of predicativism, we explore some approaches to predicativity within the modal framework for potentiality developed in Linnebo (2013) and Linnebo and Shapiro (2019). This puts predicativism into a more general framework and helps to sharpen some of its key theses.
Zermelo’s Theorem that the axiom of choice is equivalent to the principle that every set can be well-ordered goes through in third-order logic, but in second-order logic we run into expressivity issues. In this note, we show that in a natural extension of second-order logic weaker than third-order logic, choice still implies the well-ordering principle. Moreover, this extended second-order logic with choice is conservative over ordinary second-order logic with the well-ordering principle. We also discuss a variant choice principle, due to Hilbert and Ackermann, which neither implies nor is implied by the well-ordering principle.
The present work is a systematic study of five frameworks or perspectives articulating mathematical structuralism, whose core idea is that mathematics is concerned primarily with interrelations in abstraction from the nature of objects. The first two, set-theoretic and category-theoretic, arose within mathematics itself. After exposing a number of problems, the Element considers three further perspectives formulated by logicians and philosophers of mathematics: sui generis, treating structures as abstract universals, modal, eliminating structures as objects in favor of freely entertained logical possibilities, and finally, modal-set-theoretic, a sort of synthesis of the set-theoretic and modal perspectives.
There are multiple formal characterizations of the natural numbers available. Despite being inter-derivable, they plausibly codify different possible applications of the naturals – doing basic arithmetic, counting, and ordering – as well as different philosophical conceptions of those numbers: structuralist, cardinal, and ordinal. Some influential philosophers of mathematics have argued for a non-egalitarian attitude according to which one of those characterizations is ‘more basic’ or ‘more fundamental’ than the others. This paper addresses two related issues. First, we review some of these non-egalitarian arguments, lay out a laundry list of different, legitimate, notions of relative priority, and suggest that these arguments plausibly employ different such notions. Secondly, we argue that given a metaphysical-cum-epistemological gloss suggested by Frege's foundationalist epistemology, the ordinals are plausibly more basic than the cardinals. This is just one orientation to relative priority one could take, however. Ultimately, we subscribe to an egalitarian attitude towards these formal characterizations: they are, in some sense, equally ‘legitimate’.
This chapter discusses a kind of relativism or pluralism concerning logic. It explores a core metaphysical issue concerning logic, the extent to which logic is objective. The chapter adopts a Hilbertian perspective, either the original version where consistency is the only formal, mathematical requirement on legitimate theories, or the liberal orientation where there are no formal requirements on legitimacy at all. It explores the ramifications for what the author takes to be a longstanding intuition that logic is objective. This chapter explains the matter of objectivity with the present folk-relativism concerning logic in focus. Sometimes it concentrates on general logical matters, such as validity and consistency, as such, and sometimes it deals with particular instances of the folk-relativism, such as classical validity, intuitionistic consistency, and the like. The chapter limits the discussion to Wright's axes of epistemic constraint and cognitive command.
We develop a point-free construction of the classical one-dimensional continuum, with an interval structure based on mereology and either a weak set theory or a logic of plural quantification. In some respects, this realizes ideas going back to Aristotle, although, unlike Aristotle, we make free use of contemporary “actual infinity”. Also, in contrast to intuitionistic analysis, smooth infinitesimal analysis, and Eret Bishop’s (1967) constructivism, we follow classical analysis in allowing partitioning of our “gunky line” into mutually exclusive and exhaustive disjoint parts, thereby demonstrating the independence of “indecomposability” from a nonpunctiform conception. It is surprising that such simple axioms as ours already imply the Archimedean property and the interval analogue of Dedekind completeness (least-upper-bound principle), and that they determine an isomorphism with the Dedekind–Cantor structure of ℝ as a complete, separable, ordered field. We also present some simple topological models of our system, establishing consistency relative to classical analysis. Finally, after describing how to nominalize our theory, we close with comparisons with earlier efforts related to our own.
There is an interesting logical/semantic issue with some mathematical languages and theories. In the language of (pure) complex analysis, the two square roots of −1 are indiscernible: anything true of one of them is true of the other. So how does the singular term ‘i’ manage to pick out a unique object? This is perhaps the most prominent example of the phenomenon, but there are some others. The issue is related to matters concerning the use of definite descriptions and singular pronouns, such as donkey anaphora and the problem of indistinguishable participants. Taking a cue from some work in linguistics and the philosophy of language, I suggest that i functions like a parameter in natural deduction systems. This may require some rethinking of the role of singular terms, at least in mathematical languages.
At the beginning of Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik (§2) , Frege observes that “it is in the nature of mathematics to prefer proof, where proof is possible”. This, of course, is true, but thinkers differ on why it is that mathematicians prefer proof. And what of propositions for which no proof is possible? What of axioms? This talk explores various notions of self-evidence, and the role they play in various foundational systems, notably those of Frege and Zermelo. I argue that both programs are undermined at a crucial point, namely when self-evidence is supported by holistic and even pragmatic considerations.
1. Philosophical background: iteration, ineffability, reflection. There are at least two heuristic motivations for the axioms of standard set theory, by which we mean, as usual, first-order Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory with the axiom of choice (ZFC): the iterative conception and limitation of size (see Boolos, 1989). Each strand provides a rather hospitable environment for the hypothesis that the set-theoretic universe is ineffable, which is our target in this paper, although the motivation is different in each case.
Stewart Shapiro, in this chapter, sets forth the questions that philosophers of mathematics have been trying to answer, dividing philosophers of mathematics along two axes: whether or not they believe mathematical objects exist objectively in some way (realism or nominalism of ontology), and whether or not they believe the theorems of mathematics are objectively true (realism or fictionalism in epistemology). He introduces the problems connected with each of these viewpoints, and describes how they developed. He then gives more details on several approaches that are receiving considerable attention currently, including neo-logicism (successors to Frege and Russell) and structuralism. Structuralism is immediately of interest because it appears that what we study in mathematics are structures—whether general structures such as topological spaces, or specific structures such as the real numbers. Generally, mathematicians are not very interested in what kind of thing a real number is (is it an object in some non-physical realm, a mark on a piece of paper, an idea in people's heads?), but in how it interacts with the rest of the real numbers. So in this sense, mathematicians study structures. Stewart Shapiro and some others (including Michael Resnik) have been trying to see whether that view of mathematics can resolve some of the philosophical problems that arise in a platonic approach to the philosophy of mathematics.