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of

In Partial Fulfillment

By

Ramal Lamar

October, 2012

PLATONISM IN MODERN MATHEMATICS

By

Ramal Lamar

Date:

INTRODUCTION

In this thesis we investigate the existence of Platonic ideas in the concepts and

foundations of modern mathematics. Platonism refers to the viewpoint that the objects

and entities constructed and defined in the work of mathematics actually exist

independent of our sense preception. In the first chapter, we look at how Platonism itself

has been interpreted differently by modern thinkers and how this leads to confusion at

constructed by Plato and showing their analogs in today’s mathematical notation, we can

speak of ‘mathematical Platonism.’ For example, numbers are not just figments of the

problems with implications in the applied areas of science and technology. Also in this

thesis, we describe the various schools of mathematical thought. Each school tackles its

own philosophical problem and we highlight some of the major contributions associated

ground mathematics proper in the rules of logic. Frege tried to deduce arithmetic from the

rules of logic. Whitehead and Russell remedied the flaw of Frege’s system with type

theory. For the nominalists, mathematical objects exist in space and time and logic’s

business is to approximate reality. Nominalists such as Carnap and Quine equate logic

ii

with physics. The formalist school holds the view that every mathematical problem is

solvable by finite proof methods, thus a new field of studying the structure, or syntax and

mathematical arguments and proof, was developed in this school known as mathematics.

Thus, the meaning of mathematical symbols are removed, and a math proof is analyzed

by deriving such a proof from a series of formal axioms and rules of inference performed

in a series of logical steps. The intuitonist school of mathematics simply assumes that

logic is not math, but logic itself is an area of mathematical study, and in no way do they

Finally, set theorists describe all mathematical objects as sets. Cantor developed

this school with his studies in the infinite. When he showed that there are certain infinite

sets that can not map to infinite numbers, this led to the analysis of infinity in modern

mathematics. All the schools of mathematics at times share and refine each other’s

techniques, and set theory itself has been revised on numerous occasions to work within a

given school.

In the third chapter, we look more closely at each of the philosophical questions

posed by each school and determine how Platonism is used in articulating or solving the

problem. From the offset we see in logicism the axiom of comprehension and

schools criticizing logicists as being too Platonic. ‘Type theory,’ the lasting contribution

mathematical objects, to avoid loops and paradoxes. The empirical and naturalistic focus

iii

of nominalism as a way of avoiding naming ‘universals’ has in its approach inherent

Platonism, especially in its use of set theory and logicists’ notation to construct new

formal systems to achieve such a goal. Quine’s initial critique of claiming there was

essentially no distinction between subject and object in logic sounds very Platonic. The

intuitionist constructs universal mathematical objects from some of the same Platonic

tools used by the nominalists. The formalists with their whole metamathematics program

introducing an entirely new idea to the study of mathematics, however finitary they want

it to be, are very Platonic, with their focus on the structure of math sentences. Set theory,

with its emphasis on the infinite, axioms of choice, and ability to describe all of

mathematics, is the most Platonic of them all. Important to note is how set theory is used

In the conclusions of the thesis, we enumerate the key Platonic ideas inherent in

modern mathematics. We trace these ideas through time and see how they ended up as

basic mathematical objects. Then we show how maieutics and dialectics lead to the

Logos and knowledge, from the world of the intelligible, fall in line with intuitionists’

prescription of mathematics as being primarily a mental activity and with the nominalists’

requirement that logic describe natural reality. Thus talking about infinity does indeed

complicate the tasks of the nominalists, but there are many ways to describe reality.

show that it is impossible to prove all the truths of a theory within the given theory. Logic

iv

must be somehow extended to capture all truths, and this extension cannot be just by

merely adding new axioms. Godel constructed a true but unprovable mathematical

sentence, using the diagonalization method that Cantor used to show the uncountability

of real numbers. The intuitionist Brouwer constructed mathematical objects that were not

only used by formalists, but were actually applied to solve real world phenomena. All too

often mathematics follows the vicious-circle principle. And this vicious-circle principle is

v

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Part One: Basic Key Concepts ........................................................................... 1

Ideas and Universal Quantifiers ................................................................ 1

Maiuetics ................................................................................................... 3

Induction ................................................................................................... 5

Dialectics ................................................................................................... 6

General Definition .................................................................................... 8

Part Two: Forms and Logos ............................................................................... 9

Part Three: Knowledge and Logos .................................................................. 15

Part One: The Origin and Development of Logicism 20

Critics of Logicism ................................................................................. 23

Nominalism . ............................................................................................ 24

Quine’s Semantics ................................................................................... 25

Part Two: Intuitionism ..................................................................................... 27

Intuitionistic Logic .................................................................................. 33

From Intuition to Construction ............................................................... 34

Part Three: Formalism ..................................................................................... 34

Formalist Logic ....................................................................................... 35

Part Four: Set Theory ....................................................................................... 38

Zermelo-Fraenkel Axioms ...................................................................... 39

The Bourbaki School .............................................................................. 39

Cantor’s Set Theory ................................................................................ 40

Part One: Logicism as Platonism ..................................................................... 44

Logicism ................................................................................................. 44

Type Theory ............................................................................................ 46

Part Two: Platonic Nominalism ....................................................................... 47

Nominalism ............................................................................................. 47

Naming Universals .................................................................................. 48

Part Three: Platonic Formalism ....................................................................... 51

Hilbert’s Program .................................................................................... 51

Metamathematics .................................................................................... 52

Part Four: Platonic Intuitionism ....................................................................... 53

Origins of Intuitionism ............................................................................ 53

The Totality of Integers ........................................................................... 54

Real Numbers .......................................................................................... 56

Part Five: Platonic Ideas in Modern Set Theory .............................................. 57

Cantor’s Theorem ................................................................................... 57

R is Uncountable ..................................................................................... 57

vi

Axioms of Set Theory ............................................................................. 60

R and Decimal Numbers ......................................................................... 62

Godel’s Platonism ................................................................................... 62

Conclusions .................................................................................................................. 63

Bibliography ................................................................................................................ 77

vii

1

concepts central to the notion of Platonism and show how each of these concepts shows

up in the logic of modern mathematics through symbolic notation. In this manner we aim

to show how, in Plato’s works, the notion of logos sets the foundation of modern

critics and by modern Platonists. The central claim is that there is little agreement as to

numerated, and commented upon. We then explore the relationships between the themes

development through time and space of Platonic notions of idea, forms (universal

knowledge and its negation, existential knowledge), maieutics (induction, inference, and

illustrating how these concepts have come to shape what we now know constitutes

mathematical logic.

To begin, let us consider the connection of Plato’s original ‘idea’ and the

‘universal quantifier’ used in mathematical logic. The term ‘idea’ is synonymous with

2

form. According to the original notion articulated by Plato, an idea (or form) is a

knowledge and opinion. From Plato’s original theory of forms, the idea is a universal

form. In modern logic, Plato’s ‘idea’ is synonymous with the ‘universal quantifier.’

In modern mathematics and logic, both universal and existential quantifiers are

an upside down letter A, ( ∀) which means ‘every’ or ‘for all.’ We use the universal

in notation as a backwards capital E, and ∃ means, ‘there exists’ or ‘there is.’ So the

So (∃x ∈ S)( p(x)) says there is an x in the universe of discourse S where p(x)

holds. Notice that in both the universal and existential casex is the bounded dependent

variable and the independent variable y is equivalent to the open sentence p(x) (namely

that y = p(x)).

3

The universal and existential forms are categories of being known also as genera

switches the value of the quantifier to its opposite value. For example, by negating a

mathematics and vice versa. So the universal quantifier is equivalent to (or defined as)

Maieutics

concepts were defined by maieutics (the art of delivering truth) via induction, procedure,

and dialectics (types of generalization of inference, along with irony and induction), thus

Even today, as is admitted by many detractors, induction is ever present in logic and the

methodology of science. Related to induction are the terms irony, inference, and

maieutics. Naturally, induction is a tool of the mind and is fundamental to the purpose of

philosophy. When we consider logic, among other things, as the “rules of correct

thinking” 1 and explore Plato’s claim that “the mind is knowledge,” 2 the mind

1

Kant, Logic (1801: translated by Hartman and Schwartz), p.13.

2

Dumitiru, A History of Logic, vol. 1, p.25.

4

(inductively) knows and is, hence, the foundation of knowledge. The mind implies to

know.

How does this relate to mathematics and logic? First and foremost, induction has

been delineated as the most basic type of logic, evolving later into more refined logic

types resulting into inference, dialectics, and more formalized proof methods. Nowadays,

just as at the dawn of logic and philosophy (since logic is considered a sub-discipline of

philosophy), the sole objective mathematical logic is the formation of general concepts; it

is in the general concepts where ‘truth’ is found. In this process, a distinction between

Prior to the symbolism of modern logic, the aim and goal of philosophy, and logic

in particular, was articulated “by the ancients with the analogy of delivering a baby

(maieutics)” 3 . Hence, the art of delivering truth was symbolically represented by the art

of delivering a baby. Truth was found in general definition from an induction procedure.

Maieutics eventually took shape through the method of asking questions (irony)

leading to the inference that given a formal system Φ that is complex enough to produce

whole numbers, there are logical statements φ that are true but unprovable within the

formal system Φ.

3

Ibid., p.26.

5

Induction

used in today’s formal methods, the so called mathematical induction. Define P(n): = An

open mathematical sentence. Define P(n) as the math equation n+2n = 3n, for every

So P(n) holds for n=1. Now we assume P(n) = n + 2n holds for some particular natural

So P(n) is n + 2n = 3n.

Now add 3 to both sides of the equation to obtain P(n+1). So P(n+1) holds for all n+1.

Notice that we did not simply use arithmetic to show that n + 2n = 3n, but that we used

the principle of induction; if the special case for unity (n = 1) was true, then we needed to

show if induction worked for some natural number, then (n+1) + 2(n+1) = 3(n+1). This

method is valid since the set of all natural numbers is an inductive set of numbers, the

first natural number is 1 and all other natural numbers can be found by repeatedly adding

1 to the first natural number. This made our proof become a general statement. Even

though this illustration is of a modern type, the ideas and elements of this math induction

go back through time to around the origins of philosophy, logic, and math itself.

6

purpose of generalizing from a special basis. Once a specific case was known to be true,

one could generalize (assume the case more generally) by adding (or conjoining) a

specific to a general; a new special general was developed (similar to Cantor’s countable

Dialectics

N, this distribution of objects into general and specifics was known as ‘dialectics.’

induction and inference, objects were distributed into general (ideas) and specific

(things). Such objects were defined and concepts were constructed in discussions with

Dialectics, as a method of maieutics, took place mainly through the art of asking

questions (irony). The actual dialogue, or argumentation, taking place between two

orators, was known as physical dialectics, where “material implied a factual position of

driving adversaries into contradictions; thereby compelling one to accept the victor’s

Metaphysical dialectics referred to the more general method of finding the intelligible

upon the existent, which formed into a theory of being. It was from metaphysical

4

Ibid., p.18.

7

dialectics that we arrived at modern mathematics, via logic in the form of scientific

method.

dialectics, rooted in Plato’s original philosophy and how they relate to Godel’s later math

Recall that the results of the seven step skeleton of Godel’s proof predicate of

Peano Arithmetic states the following: ‘Every proof of a theorem of N is not shown by a

value for y will yield a truth value of the proof predicate of the formal system (in our case

Peano Arithmetic). The negation of such a proof predicate will result in a statement that

does not yield a true/false value, but nonetheless holds, ultimately, as a true statement

in the words of Klein, mathematics has lost its certainty; because there exist mathematical

truths that cannot be proved within the given theory, you must go outside of the theory to

prove the theorems. It is like needing to be in three dimensions to totally understand the

two dimensional world. Throwing out Platonic forms means limiting math in such a way

8

mathematics?”) math is not simply formal methods. To say that math is also informal

methods arriving to truth opens logic to the original metaphysical enterprise that

modernists tried to avoid. (At this stage, math is whatever we want it to be, except, of

course, formal.)

General Definition

In philosophy as a method, initial elements are general notions with a well defined

of ideas (logoi) and not things (pragmata), philosophy arrives at truth (the essence of a

concepts. There are two types of science, the indirect science (dianoia), which includes

dialectics and the direct science (intuition) which includes intelligence (essence). Thus,

science is knowledge of the intelligible world, the universe, if you will, of discourse used

in mathematical logic.

into species, and species into subspecies, stopping when division is no longer possible

and the individual is reached. This methodology is similar to the original arithmetical

We have identified six key concepts that constitutes Platonism: namely, ideas,

quantifiers, maieutics, induction, dialectics, and general definition. These concepts are

used in virtually every branch of mathematics. However, there remains the question of

how these key concepts are forms of knowledge and logos, and how Plato’s articulations

9

around these forms constitute the basis for mathematical logic. In the next section, we

will pay close attention to the relationship between knowledge, form, and logos to gain

clarity around how they help us to delineate between the different interpretations of

modern mathematics.

First, we will examine closely what Plato says about logos. We will also show the

intend to show modern Platonic views of, as well as ancient critiques of, ‘logos’ and

‘ideas.’ We will also cite two examples from Meno and the Symposium of what Plato

says about the logos and the ideas. We conclude by showing that there is much

Given A, A is knowable. So, there is no logos, only names in the first elements of which

all things (matter) are composed. That is, things composed of elements are defined as

being complex. Elements are named and the combined names of elements are in a logos.

Thus, logoi (being unknowable) are not members of elements. Instead, such elements

imply perception. So complexes relate to the knowable (that which is statable), so that

Concerning logos, Plato says, “Whenever then anyone gets hold of the true notion

of everything without a logos, his soul thinks truly of it; but he does not know it, for if

one cannot give and receive a logos of anything, one has no knowledge of that thing; but

10

when he has acquired a logos, then all things are realized and he is fully equipped for

knowledge.” 5 Coupled with this quote, consider the conditional statement in modern

mathematical logic. For elements p and q, where p is the subject and q is the predicate,

the condition ‘if p then q’ is logically equivalent (in set theory) to A < B (‘A is a subset of

B’ or ‘for every x in A, A is a subset of B’). Note that ‘if’ is really a universal quantifier

and p, the logical subject, is an element, and q:= the logical predicate. Note that the

universe of discourse U has an element x, such that every x in some subset A in U (we

can call the subset A the subject or hypothesis) is moved, through the implication

connective of an open sentence p(x), to set B in U (we can call B the predicate or

conclusion).

Platonists. One modern theory of Platonism states that logos is just the composite (name)

of names of knowable elements. A second theory is that logos is more than just the nouns

out of which knowable elements are composed. Logos is a new linguistic unit that

conveys something more than what is conveyed by bare enumeration of individual names

in it. The problem is that both of these theories hold that logos would not convey

knowledge. Another theory between the problem and criticism of Socrates’ dream in

Thaetetus is that there is a relation with logical atomist theories of words and sentences

Even though considered a weak claim, forms imply verbs, adjectives, and nouns,

and constitute the names of simple nameables. Hence, if form implies the logical subject

5

Theaetetus: (202), cited in Allen, Studies in Plato’s Metaphysics, p.14.

11

of predication, then verbal expression of form is equivalent to name, not sentence. Thus,

Refuting the old critique of the theory of ideas would say that it is related to

perception, which is Plato’s concern. For unknowable elements, which are perfected

simples, there is a relation between argument (that holds every simple nameable as either

damaging to the theory of forms but kept them anyway. No one is prepared to say that

Plato abandoned forms. Logos does not entail knowledge; there is alogo implying

knowledge if there is all knowledge. Plato’s favorite doctrine was ‘knowledge entails

Γ ={roses are red, violets are blue}, S1 = “roses are red and violets are blue,” S2 =

Citing Cross’ and Ryles’ views of Platonism shows that most of these arguments

of what constitutes Platonism have not been settled. 7 If Plato still holds a doctrine after

interpretation of Platonism that says that verbs, adjectives, and nouns are themselves

6

Another way to say this is that Γ = {knowledge, logos}, S1 = "logos and knowledge," S2 = "logos"

Γ entails S2 since "S1" and ⌐"S1" are logically inconsistent.

7

For Cross and Ryles’s views, see Allen, Studies in Plato’s Metaphysics.

12

names of simple nameables, a tenet of the doctrine of forms. And since we are not sure if

Ryles’ interpretation of the theory of ideas states that proper names imply

particulars, and that other substantiative adjectives, verbs, prepositions are names of

forms. So there are a class of entities called ‘universals,’ entirely different from sensible

things. The language use implies such entities, like existence. So every word is not a

proper name, which implies that the name of something is one or many instances of

something. This also implies the form of immediate apprehension such that we are

directly acquainted with the term, which in turn implies a special faculty of knowledge

corroborated by Plato, but this would make the theory of forms less illuminating, since

such claims are orthodox to Platonism. But Plato had other things in mind. In Meno, a

specific definition is applied. Given a term, what is it? Is it a term? Notice that we use a

‘word’ as a ‘general term.’ Every one group of particulars is called by one name—‘virtue’

or ‘bee,’ for example—even though there are many different kinds of ‘virtues’ and ‘bees.’

Meno’s worry is about a special kind of ‘virtue’; he has difficulty that Socrates is

trying to discover what ‘virtue’ this one is. Socrates provides Meno with an example (a

answering “the only thing which follows a color.” So, “A man can’t understand the name

of a thing when he does not know what the thing is; he gives an illustration of the sort of

13

answer he wants....” 8 Meno later says, about mathematical roots: “just as you found a

single character to embrace these many roots, so now try to find a single logos that

applies to many kinds of knowledge.” 9 So back to the question, of “What is x?” Unless

the question is put into context, (specific) different answers could appear to be legitimate.

The real business for Meno is Plato trying to tell him that ‘ideas’ are ‘universals’ via the

In the Symposium, Plato says, “After long training, the soul sees beauty in

ordinary sense.” 10 Thus, with knowledge in its ordinary senses there exists a logos. And

experience’ (‘episteme’, ‘έπιστήμη’) belongs to the moment of ‘one admitted into the

The knowledge that Plato is usually concerned with is not ordinary. In his non-

enthusiastic moments, Plato is concerned with the knowledge that logos is involved in.

Cross’ opinion). 12

8

Allen. Studies in Plato’s Metaphysics (1965), p.20.

9

Ibid., p.21.

10

Plato’s Symposium, Jowett edition, (210e) and (212a).

11

Allen, Studies in Plato’s Metaphysics, p.23.

12

Ibid., p.25.

14

speak of knowledge, forms, logos, the proper duties of a dialectician, and discussing

knowledge. So that for every beginning of (intellectual) exercise, exercise must not be

knowledge, since it can lack logos. Logos has also been shown to be synonymous with

various Platonic thinkers including Plato himself. Some theories state that logos is a

composite name of knowable elements. Others state that logos is a new linguistic unit, or

that logos is a relationship between words and sentences. We formalized Plato’s statement

that knowledge entails logos and showed how two leading Platonic thinkers of our era,

Cross and Ryles, both differ in their interpretations of Plato’s claim. These fundamentally

different views of forms are as follows. Cross thinks that formal knowledge is not

knowledge by acquaintance and Ryles thinks that forms are simply verbs, adjectives, and

nouns, especially names. The main point is that even today there is no consensus, outside

15

premise we can now delve into the origin of the term ‘logos’ to provide a commentary on

its etymology. Then we show a common theme in modern scholarship of how recent

translations of the term are not clean, which confuses the actual meaning of the term. We

show through such analysis how the question of naming arrives in the implicit meaning

of the term ‘logos,’ and how ‘idea’ leads analytically to the notion and utility of a

Etymologically ‘logos’ comes from the verb ‘legein,’ which means ‘to tell, state,

logos in the domain of language. Plato, in defining or describing logos, limits it to the

linguistic domain. Aristotle refers to Platonists as “thinkers who occupy themselves with

verbal discussions, tending to rank universals as substances (for they tend to describe as

makes the distinction between thinkers who get down colloquially to brass tacks of things

‘reason’ or ‘thought’ make difficult the clarification of Platonic conceptions. Consider the

(i) “I have better have discourse to the world of the mind and seek there the truth of

13

Ibid., p.26. A better translation by Cross is “through pursuing their inquiry by means of logoi.”

16

(ii) “In reference to thought and what may be called ideas” to: “In reference to those

(iii)“For immaterial things, which are the noblest and greatest, are shown only in

‘thought and idea’ and in no other way” to: “Are shown only in ‘discourse’ or

Recall that the idea is an object (nota) of intelligence (good, beautiful, etc.). Objects of

perception are ‘aestheta.’ Mental experiences (‘pathemata en ta psyche’) are high (gnosis

and dianoia) intelligible—the two modes of operation of the reasoning part of the soul,

and the low mental experiences are perception and belief. The mathematical sciences are

that is, reflection or intelligence or abstract thinking. Thus, gnosis and dianoia are distinct

movements of thoughts, and states of mind are grounds of distinction between gnosis and

dianoia.

and figures intermediate between ideas and sensible things. In the intelligible world,

education (schema) implies figures in moral and mathematical ideas and their truths.

Thus, moral ideas are not in a higher class reached by gnosis and math ideas are not in a

lower class reached by dianoia, since math objects can be also objects of gnosis when

14

Ibid., p.27.

17

Plato is given credit for discovering the method of analysis. Heath tells us,

But analysis and synthesis following each other are related in the same

way as upward and downward progressions in the dialectician’s

intellectual method. Plato observed the importance, from the point of view

of logical rigor, of the confirmatory synthesis following analysis. The

mind must possess the power of taking a step or leap upwards from the

conclusion to the premise implied in it. Prior truth can’t be deduced or

proved from conclusion; it must be grasped by an act of analytical

penetration, such an act is involved in the solution, by way of

hypothesis. 15

Thus, Proclus associated Plato’s method of dialectical ascent to genuine principles with

New interpretations of Platonism include the basis that forms are simple

question “What is a figure?” was asked, Plato asks for the idea of a figure and expects as

a proper answer to the question, to be given a statement. Thus, the idea of a figure is

displayed in the logos, and the form is displayed in the predicate of the logos. Theaetetus

found the idea of the mathematical roots, and Socrates replied, “just as you found a single

character to embrace all that multitude try to find a single formula that applies to many

kinds of knowledge.” 16 Thus, the idea is equivalent to the logos, that is, giving an idea

implies giving logos, which embodies a formula. So a form is like a formula, the logical

predicate in a logos, not the logical subject: what is said of something, not something

15

Proclus, "Commentary on the First Book of the Elements," in Heath, Greek Mathematics, p.211-218.

16

Allen, Studies in Plato’s Metaphysics, pp.28-29.

18

It is incorrect when ‘we talk about ideas (form),’ but it is correct to say that when

‘we talk with ideas (form), logoi (pieces of talk) are necessary to display ideas (form)’ to

us. Thus, ‘idea’ is a logical predicate. So when asking “What is a figure?” the answer is to

produce a logos (in predicate form of which ‘idea’ is displayed). The idea of ‘figure’ is

expressed in the predicate of the statement ‘figure is...[the] boundary of [a] solid.’ So

what is the statement about? The logos is not about the form (displayed in the predicate)

(defining a word). Thus, we arrive at necessary statements; that is, logically necessary (or

self-contradictory) to deny, not truth about things, but logical truths of how we talk about

things. Plato knows that idea is a ‘thing’ question, and to reach certainty you must pay the

price.

The main point is that forms are logical predicates displayed in logoi and not

simple nameables known by acquaintance. This is not to deny that there exist things:

Plato says this can be construed to fit the ‘simple nameables’ view. Nor do we pretend

that the view of forms as logical predicates displayed in logoi is to be found explicitly

formulated in Plato. (But it does allow greater flexibility in more open interpretations,

such as views). Especially before exploring ‘logos’ and its notions of subject and

predicate, the view is there implicitly in how Plato develops the theory of forms. So we

Cross, a Platonist, put the theory of ideas in the context of language and logic.

Most puzzles of Plato’s time were logical puzzles of language. The Socratic method of

19

mathematical interest of ‘logoi’ and deductive procedures—not the simple entities known

by acquaintance—are the goal of Plato. So forms are not simple entities: how could they

either be premises or conclusions of any argument? Plato liked the material mode of

After examining the etymology of the term logos as meaning ‘to say,’ logos can

this. Not equating ‘logikos’ with ‘logos’ shows how bad translations have led to muddled

translators create around our understanding of ‘logos,’ ‘knowledge’ is the result of the

‘high intelligible.’ This shows ‘logos’ as the basis of the dialectics of abstract thinking, or

so-called ‘mathematical reasoning.’ In the light of this inquiry, we will next look at

mathematical symbolism. We have also looked into the intimate relationship between

logos, forms, and knowledge and used this relationship as a basis to show not only the

interpretative disagreements that exist among Platonic thinkers, but also to show how

these notions provide a basis for our understanding of what constitutes mathematical

17

Ibid., p.31.

20

thinking, or abstract reasoning. Next we will continue to explore the presence and

own school even though it developed out of logicism, the section under which it will be

discussed.

reducible to logic. In the early 1900’s, the laws of logic were accepted by almost all

mathematicians as a body of truths. Hence, the logicists contended that mathematics must

also be a body of truth. “And since truth is consistent, so they claimed, mathematics must

be.” 18 This school of thought began with Leibniz and Dedekind, was developed by Frege,

According to Leibniz,

is not necessary then it is called contingent. That God exists, that all right

angles are equal, etc., are necessary truths; but that I myself exist and there

are bodies in nature which possess an angle of exactly 90 degrees are

contingent truth. These could be true or false; for the whole universe

might be otherwise. 19

18

Kline, Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty, p.216.

19

Ibid., p.217.

21

Klein continues, “Dedekind affirmed flatly that number is not derived from intuitions of

space and time, but is ‘an immediate emanation from the pure laws of thought. From

number we gain precise concepts of space and time.’ He started to develop this but did

not pursue it,” 20 attempting instead to build up (natural) numbers from logic.

Frege developed the symbolic notation used today in modern logic and is credited

with transforming logic from a rhetorical art to a deductive science by the means of his

calculus, bringing into fruition the goal of Leibniz’ philosophy as a universal science.

Frege’s work was then carried forward by Russell and Whitehead in their work

1902 received a letter from Russell informing him that his work involved a concept; the

set of all sets; that can lead to a contradiction.” This flaw, known as Russell’s Paradox,

provided a fatal blow to Frege’s logical system, since his axiomatic definition of what

(and Whitehead) attempted to resolve Frege’s flawed Axiom 5 via the Principia

Mathematica. This full attempt to reduce all of mathematics, numbers systems, algebra,

geometry, etc., to logical statements, was essentially based on Frege’s logical symbolism

and notation. The only addition was a ‘theory of types’ added to resolve Frege’s systemic

flaw. This theory of types arranged sets in a form of hierarchical classes, to avoid the

20

Ibid., p.218.

22

According to Klein,

Russell did know of course that Peano had derived the real numbers from

axioms about the whole numbers, and he was also aware that Hilbert had

given a set of axioms for the entire real numbers. However he remarked in

1919, in his Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, ‘The method of

postulating what we want has many advantages; they are the same as the

advantages of theft over honest toil.’ 21

Russell’s real concern was that postulation of, say, 10 or 15 axioms about number

does not ensure the consistency and truth of the axioms. As he put it, it gives unnecessary

hostages to fortune. Whereas in the early 1900’s Russell was sure that principles of logic

were truths and therefore consistent, Whitehead cautioned in 1907, “There can be no

In his search for mathematical truth, Russell could not distinguish between

Euclidean and non-Euclidean concepts. That is, he could not affirm which was the truth.

But in his Essay in the Foundations of Geometry (1898), he did manage to find some

mathematical laws, such as that as physical space must be homogeneous (possess the

same properties everywhere); hence, he believed that mathematical laws were physical

truths.

type. But, if one attempts to build mathematics in accordance with type theory, the

Russell and Whitehead, two objects a and b are equal if every proposition and

21

Ibid., p.220.

22

Ibid., p.221.

23

propositional function that applies to or holds for a also holds for b, and conversely.

Hence, type theory introduces a complication also in the concept of the least upper bound

Consider that the least upper bound (l.u.b.) is defined as the smallest of all upper

bounds, so the l.u.b. is defined in terms of the set of real numbers, R. Hence the l.u.b.

Also, through the axiom of reducibility, in PM, every property p of higher type; p

is equivalent to one of first order. Through the axiom of reducibility, math induction is

supported in PM.

incompleteness theorems. Godel showed that any time one attempted to formalize

arithmetic, according to PM or any axiomatic system, there will be certain true arithmetic

statements that cannot be proven in that logical system. Godel qualifies as a logicist since

Critics of Logicism

The axiom of reducibility seems arbitrary, but no proof of its falsity has been

shown. It is a happy accident, but not a logical necessity. That is, “the axiom of infinity,

although it is couched in logical terms, thus seems to pose the problem of whether the

logic, then logic seemingly would have to include the axiom of infinity.

23

Ibid., p.222. See also Russell and Whitehead, Principia Mathematica, Chapter IX.

24

Ibid., p.225.

24

Nevertheless, it is sometimes argued that PM, by reducing to logic a set of

axioms for N, thereby reduced number theory, algebra, and analysis to

logic, but did not reduce to logic the non-arithmetical parts of math; such

as geometry, topology, and abstract algebra. 25

A philosophical critique of logicism by Weyl says that “if the logistic view is

correct, then all math is a purely formal, logico-deductive science whose theorems follow

from laws of thought. Just how deductive elaboration of the laws of thought can represent

wide varieties of natural phenomenon; the uses of N, the geometry of space acoustics,

the creation of math, perceptual or imaginative intuition must supply new concepts

whether or not derived from experience. Else, how could new knowledge arise? But in

Formalization apparently does not represent math in any real sense. It is the husk,

not the corn. Russell’s own statement, made in another context, that mathematics is the

subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are

Nominalism

theory and results from the discovery of the paradoxes. Nominalists oppose the view of

certain interpretations of math objects and are concerned with what object or objects are

25

Ibid., p.227.

26

Ibid., pp.227-28.

25

denoted by a single term. In set theory, for example, the nominalists criticized the revised

axiom of comprehension (that each mathematical entity is the element of a set). They

Quine’s Semantics

For example, Quine has a semantic approach to the natural deduction of formal

introduced “a logical system which enables philosophy to a totality of pure math without

appeal to any special axioms” 27 . Quine’s New Foundation (NF) and Mathematical Logic

(ML) are distinct from Fraenkel Skolem’s set theory (FS). His system (NF) is weaker

than (FS). Thus, consistency can be established by more elementary methods; and (FS)

Nominalistic logic denies that a universal term can be used to denote a multitude

of concrete objects. Nominalists feel that the collective usage of universal terms need not

justify the existence of some abstract entity; instead, universal terms of concrete objects

(‘good,’ ‘bad,’ ‘natural number,’ etc.) correspond to their original sense. Quine postpones

in his logical theory, as much as possible, the supposition of the existence of abstract

27

Beth, Foundations of Mathematics, p.507.

26

theory system (RZ) and Platonic background; it constructs a system of logic and math

unity. Beth tells us, “admission of this unity as a value of certain bound variables; implies

policy’ used in establishing pure math as a branch of logic. Even though he attempts to

avoid this axiom of comprehension, his logical systems New Foundations (NF) and

Mathematical Logic (ML) avoids Russell’s and Cantor’s paradox, but NF still falls victim

the Burali-Forti paradox. Quine retried ML to account for the Burali-Forti paradox, then

Rosser and Wang showed that NF cannot handle standard models and, thus, NF and ML

are hardly consistent, failing the initial program of logicism. So nominalism is a tendency

of universalism, with the philosophical implications that Godel’s result that ‘Zermelo-

Fraenkel’s axioms of set theory including the axiom of choice are consistent (Con(ZFC))’

Platonist and the nominalist accept the same modes. They just justify them differently.

application. The new nominalism involves itself with logic theory and applications. The

axiom of comprehension of Frege and Cantor states that sets are multitudes of

28

Ibid., p.508.

27

it is the source of many paradoxes of logic and set theory; it was also a source for

logicians and mathematicians turning away from and criticizing Platonism. Quine

axiom of infinity is an axiom of logic, and the use of the theory of types is for

proposition, p(x) = 2+3, for S ⊆ N. Nominalists include Quine, Tarski, and Henkin,

because they oppose the reducibility view to interpretations of math objects. But the

nominalists have a methodology and goal that are Platonic in essence; the only difference

Techniques of nominalist logic are used by logicians Godel, Quine, and Tarski in their

quest to ground logic in mathematics. These methods are consistent with the original

notion of ‘idea’ and the claim that the ‘logos’ constitutes the logical predicate of the idea

(or form).

knowledge.’ 29 For Kant, math intuition implies space and time; hence intuition is a theory

of reason. For Leibniz, intuition was ‘intuitive knowledge,’ ‘clear distinct and adequate.’

Godel’s intuition was a composite of Leibniz’s ‘intuitive knowledge’ and the modern

29

Descartes, Rules for the Direction of the Mind, in Philosophical Works of Descartes, vol. 1, p.7.

28

synonymous with mathematical Platonism). Here the math objects we talk about exist

theory, type theory, and the idea of concepts as classes or categories, is equivalent to

Brouwer, mathematics is equivalent to synthetic, a priori truths where all numbers and

mathematics derive from intuition in time. So a math theorem constitutes empirical fact

construction (2+2 = 3+1) and is a source of logical principles. Thus, “it is in vain to hope

In intuitionist set theory, there is no law of the excluded middle, identity, non-

contradiction, and syllogism. Thus, all math cannot be solved, and there is no such thing

as disjunction like ‘p or ~p.’ So in general the properties of intuitionism are not the basis

for possible knowledge of the strongest math axioms. They are restricted to demand in its

abstract concepts in a central way, distinct from intuitive evidence. 31 Thus, all intuition is

knowledge, especially in propositions, and Kantian relations of objects are ‘an attitude of

30

Klein, Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty, pp.243-44.

31

See Charles Parsons, “Platonism and Mathematical Intuition in Kurt Godel’s Thought” in The Bulletin

of Symbolic Logic, vol.1, no. 1 (March 1995), pp.44-74.

32

Ibid., p.47.

29

that builds its own universe, independent of experience and restricted only insofar as it

must be based upon the fundamental mathematical intuition. This fundamental intuitive

concept must not be thought of as in the nature of an undefined idea, such as what occurs

in axiomatic theories, but rather as something in terms of which all undefined ideas are to

of logic. 33

Mathematical ideas are more deeply imbedded in the human mind than in

perceptions. To the latter world belongs language, where it serves the understanding of

common dealings. Language evokes copies of ideas in man’s mind, symbols and sounds.

The distinction is similar to that between climbing a mountain and describing it in words.

According to Klein,

mathematics does not require knowing formal proofs, and for this reason

the paradoxes are unimportant even if we were to accept the mathematical

concepts and constructions they involve. Paradoxes are a defect of logic

but not of mathematics. Thus, consistency is a hobglobin. 34

In the realm of logic, there are some clear intuitively acceptable logical principles

or procedures that can be used to assert new theorems from old ones. These principles are

part of the fundamental mathematical intuition. Intuitionist Herman Weyl adds, “The

33

Klein, Mathematics: Loss of Certainty, p.234.

34

Ibid., p.236.

30

principle of excluded middle may be valid for God who surveys the infinite sequence of

actual numbers, as it were; with a glance; but not for human logic.” 35

Weyl observed that non-constructive existence proofs inform the world that a

treasure exists without disclosing its location. Such proofs cannot replace construction

without loss of significance and/or value. He also pointed out that adherence to the

fog. “Analysis,” he wrote in Das Kontinuum (1918), “is a house built on sand. One can be

2. For every real number in the math universe, p(r) holds if R is a class.

(−1)

p

Define N = 1+ , N = number.

10 p

(−1)

3

10 3

35

Ibid., p.237.

36

Ibid., p.239.

31

So the conclusion is that we are not sure if N exists. If N does not exist, N = 1. If N does

normal methods of creation and even on classical logic, even though intuitionists seek to

Thus, to demand ultimate reliance upon logical deduction from axioms, Brouwer

says that a system of axioms must be proven consistent by using interpretations or models

which are already known to be consistent. Hilbert and Bernays argue in their work on the

inability to answer the questions: (1) What concepts and reasoning may we rely upon if

correctness were to mean self-evidence to the human mind? And (2) where is truth

objectively valid for all human beings? Brouwer admits that intuitionistic mathematics is

useless for practical applications. He also rejects human domination over nature.

Regardless, Weyl says in 1951, “I think everybody has to accept Brouwer’s critique who

wants to hold to the belief that math propositions tell the sheer truth, truth based on

evidence.” 37

Cantor, they would not have to face Cantor’s peculiar puzzles, and he might perhaps have

argued that it was useless to spend time on the detailed discussion of an assumption

37

Ibid., p.242.

32

whose absurdity could be seen without references to paradoxes.” 38 The research program

of mathematical infinity was avoided not only due to the contradictions inherent in its

problems, but also because it would disturb the hierarchy of power amongst the leading

mathematician of the 19th century. For example, “At the beginning of 19th century, Gauss

said there was no place for talk of infinity, so Kroenecker conducted a campaign against

Cantor’s program.” 39

From Brouwer’s statement that “neo-intuitionism considers the falling apart of the

moments of life into qualitatively different parts, to be reunited only while remaining

separated by time, as the fundamental phenomena of the human intellect,” 40 we get the

intuition (of sets as being) of the betweenness which is not exhaustible by interposition of

new units and therefore cannot be thought of as a mere collection of units. Thus, there is

continuity, even though geometry is dependent upon the same intuition. There is no set

except denumerable; there are no transfinite cardinals except aleph-nought, (אo). Define

aleph-nought, אo, as the cardinal of a set whose members can be correlated one to one

with the sequence of N. Thus, there is no meaning to the set notation statement: ‘{For

In a Platonic sense, Brouwer rejects all connection to actual infinity and real

comprehended only by the law of number construction. The intuition of which they speak

is just the mind’s clear apprehension of what it has itself constructed. They assert that in

38

Kneale & Kneale, Development of Logic, p.673.

39

See Gauss’ Works, vol. 8, p.216.

40

Kneale & Kneale, Development of Logic, p.674.

33

mathematics all satisfactory proofs are constructive. They deny the dependence of math

on all special language, and also distrust formal techniques. Hence, constructive proofs

tradition of Kant, think that all math theorems are objective (valid for all intelligent

instant production. Thus, there is no use of excluded middle, implying that math is

derived from intuition. It does not imply a system of logic; instead math is equivalent to a

Intuitionistic Logic

Intutionistic logic is basically logic without the law of the excluded middle. Every

Let A be the formal statement: ¬(∃x )[Fx .¬Gx ] ⇒ (x )¬[Fx .Gx ] . Let B be another

Statement A holds in intuitionistic logic. It says, ‘there is not an x such that F(x)

and not G(x) implies that x and not F(x) and not G(x) if x and not F(x) or G(x).’

Statement B does not hold in intuitionistic logic, since it says that ‘not x, not (F

and G)(x) implies that there is an x such that F(x) and not G(x).’

34

abandoning the law of the excluded middle, eliminating double negation. Thus, to

reasoning. From constructive proofs one can, at least in principle, extract algorithms that

compute the elements and simulate the constructions whose existence is established in the

proof. Most forms of constructivism are compatible with classical mathematics, as they

are in general based on a stricter interpretation of the quantifiers and the connectives and

the constructions that are allowed, while no additional assumptions are made.

The logic accepted by almost all constructive communities is the same, namely

approximations. We saw an example of this for the intermediate value theorem in the

constructively in a similar way. The reason not to treat them any further here is that the

focus in this section is on those aspects of intuitionism that set it apart from other

For Hilbert and the formalists, one cannot deduce mathematics from logic because

41

See Beth, Foundations of Mathematics, p.644.

35

mathematics must be treated not as factual knowledge but as a formal discipline, abstract,

language, the unconscious use of intuitive knowledge (the main causes of mathematical

objectivity, Hilbert decided that all statements in logic and math must be expressed in

symbolic form. 42

The formalist believes that in the real world only a finite number of objects exists

and that matter is composed of a finite number of elements. Using an analogy from

number theory, the irrational number has no intuitive meaning as number. Even though

we can introduce lengths whose measures are irrational, the lengths themselves do not

furnish any intuitive meaning for irrational numbers. Yet the complex number ‘i’ as ideal

element is necessary even for elementary mathematics; this is why math used it even

without logical basis until the 1870’s when Hilbert (and the formalists) made some point

with respect to the set of complex numbers C, defining i = square root of -1. These have

no real immediate counterparts. Yet they make possible general theorems, such as that

Formalist Logic

Formalist logic is Plato’s logic via Aristotle’s logic. To the formalist then,

mathematics proper is a collection of formal systems, each building its own logic along

42

Klein, Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty, p.247.

36

with its mathematics, each having its own concepts, its own axioms, its own rules for

deducing theorems, and its own theorems. The development of each of these deductive

systems is the task of math. The formalist school, including Hilbert and his students,

Wilhelm Ackermann, Paul Bernays, and John von Neumann, gradually evolved into what

Hilbert proposed that a special logic be used, free from all objections. The logical

principles would be so obviously true all would accept them. Actually, they were very

methods he called finitary. For example, ‘if p = prime, then there exists prime larger than

p’ is a non-finitary math statement since it asserts about every integer m and n, where m,

n > p. But,‘if p = prime, then there is a prime between p and p+1’ is a finitary math

statement since every prime number p can be checked if p exists among the finite

concepts of existence. Hilbert maintained that “the existence of every entity was

Brouwer and the intuitionists, math rigor was found in the human intellect; to Hilbert and

the formalists, math rigor was found on paper. For the formalist, intuitionism is treason

43

Ibid., p.250.

44

Ibid., p.252.

37

intuitionistic principles were used.” 45 And by 1930, Russell and logicists agreed that

axioms of logic were not sound truths and consistency was not assumed. Intuitionists

maintained only soundness of their guaranteed consistency. The formalists had a well

systems made them confident they would succeed with showing natural numbers to be

and math, suggesting a new program for eliminating newly discovered paradoxes by

axiomatizing logic, number theory, analysis, and set theory. Thus, to call a formal

mathematical system consistent is to say that the application of the rules of inference to

the axioms can never lead to a pair of consequences, one of which is the negation of the

other. Apart from the problem of consistency, formalist techniques are appropriate for

questions about deductive systems, such as the completeness of axiom systems devising

When undertaking to axiomatize all math, the formalist assumes that his axioms

are postulates that determine the undefined symbols that he uses. Thus, a mathematical

entity to the formalist is just what his axioms allow, neither one or less. All math

numbers as a formalist will say ‘real number’ is any object satisfying certain conditions,

45

Ibid., p.253.

46

Kneale & Kneale, Development of Logic, pp.684-85.

38

assertions if you will. These axioms have certain consequences, so by virtue of their form

they will be truths of logic. Are formalists content with this conclusion? We are not sure.

mathematics he would be content to forget the difference and treat non-constructive math

the intuitionists. Hence, the formalist program can never be carried out in full. But the

formalists did stimulate the study of axiom sets that led to some interesting discoveries of

Though set theory is incorporated in the logicist approach to math, set theory

theory was first undertaken by Zermelo in 1908. He believed paradoxes arose because

Cantor did not restrict the concept of a set. His axiom system contained undefined formal

concepts of a set and the relation of one set being included in another. These and defined

In the axioms, there are infinite sets and operations like the union of sets and

formation of subsets as well as the axiom of choice. Fraenkel improved Zermelo’s axioms

since Zermelo failed to distinguish the property of a set and the set itself. ZF, named after

Zermelo/Fraenkel, is the most commonly used axiom system of set theory. Thus, for set

47

Ibid., pp.687-88.

39

theorists, mathematical logic was used but not specialized. Logical principles, to them,

Zermelo-Fraenkel Axioms

d. x ∪ y is a set (union).

h. Axiom of choice.

ZF axioms for set theory can build all mathematics. They are most general and

fundamental to build analysis and geometry. The Bourbakists, a radical and influential

school of mathematics, expressed their position on logic: “In other words, logic, insofar

which we use, a language which had to exist before the grammar could be constructed.” 48

48

Klein, Mathematics: Loss of Certainty, p.256.

40

mathematicians have been correcting their errors and seeing their science enriched and

not impoverished in consequence; and this gives them the right to contemplate their

future with equanimity.” 49 The Bourbakists have put forth about thirty volumes in their

Cantor’s original theory of sets was a logical theory of natural numbers prior to

Frege. The totality of the real numbers, R in the interval (0,1) is not denumerable

(countably infinite, or countable). To deal with this situation, Cantor elaborated set

theory. A set is defined as collection into one whole of definite distinct objects of our

perception or our thought, which are called elements of the set. The term ‘set’ is

equivalent to the terms ‘manifold,’ ‘ensemble,’ ‘totality,’ ‘aggregate,’ ‘class,’ etc. So the

sets S and T are equivalent if there is a one-to-one correspondence between them. The

cardinal set, S*, is defined as the general concept with the aid of our active intelligence

and results from a set when we abstract from the nature of its various elements and from

the order of their being given. For a finite S, S* is an element of N. S is infinite if and

only if there is a one-to-one correspondence with a proper subset. Thus, the set of Z+ can

S +T – logical sum

ST – inner product

49

Ibid., p.257.

41

S T – insertion of S into T

Cantor thought his work was a discovery of laws not made by man. He was just a scribe

with no claim to merit except for the style and economy of his exposition. 50

Following the development of logicism by Russell, the Vienna Circle, and Godel,

notation to modern mathematics and type theory. Nominalism tries to revise the

its development back from Descartes then splits accordingly to Kant through Brouwer on

one path and Leibniz to Godel on another path. For the formalist, the consistency of a

axiomatize all mathematics, the formalist assumes that his axioms are postulates that

determine the undefined symbols that he uses. In establishing set theory, Zermelo hoped

that clear and explicit axioms would clarify the meaning of a set and its properties.

Zermelo aimed to limit the size of possible sets. He had no philosophical basis, but only

We have shown that logicism attempts to build all mathematics from rules of

Intuitionists view mathematics as not bound to the rules of logic, but being a creative,

50

Kneale & Kneale. Development of Logic, p.689.

42

man-made enterprise. Formalists are concerned with using finite procedures to establish

proof methods, leading to a rich theory of metamathematics, analyzing the syntax of math

proofs. And set theorists express numbers as sets of objects and build modern

mathematics from such axioms and numbers. In the next chapter, we will look more

In this last chapter, we will explore logic from the classical viewpoint of Plato’s

view of logic as logos. Then we will see logos in relation to forms and knowledge. Then

we will look at some of the competing views of modern Platonists’ interpretation of what

Plato means by logos. We will examine what is known as mathematical Platonism, its

all of the schools of modern mathematical thought. Its origins lie in Plato’s beliefs in a

‘World of Ideas’ and that the everyday world imperfectly approximates an unchanging,

ultimate reality, as well as with the ancient Pythagoreans who believed that the world was

generated by numbers. According to Plato’s theories of ideas (or forms), the objects we

talk about do exist independently of our thoughts and knowledge of them. Such

interpretations are held for mathematical objects, to varying degrees. Throughout the

what actually constitutes Platonism. In this thesis, we assume that the main school of

modern logical thought has a common Platonic kernel but appears distinct only on the

43

mathematical entities exist, and how do we know about them? Is there a world,

completely separate from our physical one that is occupied by the mathematical entities?

How can we gain access to this separate world and discover truths about the entities?

Mathematical Platonism is ‘realism’ since it holds the view that mathematical entities

exist independently of the human mind that humans do not invent mathematics, but rather

discover it. So there is really one sort of mathematics that can be discovered.

and are eternal and unchanging. Most people have a Platonic conception of numbers.

Platonism also postulates a special kind of mathematical intuition that lets us perceive

perception. Certain principles of set theory could be directly seen to be true, but some

conjectures, like the continuum hypothesis, might be unprovable just on the basis of such

principles.

existence one takes mathematical entities to have, and how we know about them. In so-

44

called Platonism, dialogues are the source of the theory of ideas (eternal prototypes), and

application to natural phenomena (fact perceptible by senses). The things that we see

(phenomena of nature) are in the earthly realm, merely copies (idols) of the prototypes

(paradigms). Ideas and noumena exist in the heavenly realm; real and perfect, while the

phenomena is the unreal and imperfect. Thus, the purpose of philosophy is to enable the

mind to rise above contemplation of visible copies of ideas (idols) and advance to

knowledge of ideas.

Logicism in its development has elements of Platonism in it, especially in its aims

to situate the rules of clear thinking with number theory, as well as in Russell’s theory of

types. Godel considered Russell’s type theory as being ‘Platonic’ because it claimed the

because the results of his incompleteness theorem led to those ubiquitous—true but

Logicism

Logicism claims that mathematics is reducible to and a part of logic, and that

mathematics can be known a priori, but that our knowledge of mathematics is just part of

our knowledge of logic in general. Mathematics is thus analytic, not requiring any special

all mathematical statements are necessary logical truths. Carnap (1931) presents the

logicist thesis in two parts: (1) the concepts of mathematics can be derived from logical

45

concepts through explicit definitions; (2) the theorems of mathematics can be derived

Logicists use Platonic notions when they add new axioms to logic to reformulate

old ‘unworkable ones’ such as Russell’s axiom of reducibility that replaced Frege’s basic

law V and the axiom of comprehension. 51 Logicists use abstraction principles such as

Hume’s principle that the number of objects falling under the concept F equals the

number of objects falling under the concept G if and only if the extension of F and the

logic, then questions about mathematical objects reduce to questions about logical

objects. But what, one might ask, are the objects of logical concepts? In this sense,

those considered as fundamental and irreducible, to pure logic in order to prove theorems

of pure mathematics, starting with postulates, nothing but the basic principles of logic,

and applying only logical methods of proof. This tradition along with Frege holds the

view of “the possibility of deriving, the basic notions and the fundamental principles of

psychological data, and that a logical justification of pure mathematics does not

51

See Frege’s Foundations of Arithmetic, p.45.

52

Kneale & Kneale, Development of Logic, p.403.

53

Ibid., p.413.

46

“mathematical symbols have a definite meaning of their own and need not be devoid of

Leibniz, who, influencing Dedekind, influenced Frege, down to Russell, who refined

Type Theory

In the logicist PM-system, Russell and Whitehead uses a theory of types to avoid

Accordingly, the definition of a number is a class, and PM builds the natural numbers N,

the real numbers R, the complex numbers C, related functions for such numbers systems

and analysis.

The axiom of reducibility and the theory of types in general are Platonic notions

because for propositions P: ‘Every P of a higher type is equivalent to one of 1st order.’

And for propositional functions f: ‘Every f such that f(x) or f (x,y) is coextensive with

f(x) and the same number or variables whatever the variable type’ (propositional

functions are used to justify mathematical induction in PM). Logicism is Platonic because

it corrects and adds new axioms (such as the axiom of reducibility). According to the type

solving the liar paradox, Russell states “The statement I am lying means ‘∃ proposition p

such that I am affirming p and it is false.’ So if p is of the nth order, then the assertion

54

Ibid., p.426.

55

Ibid., p.527.

56

Ibid., p.530.

47

participation of ideas. Thus, the nous is the world soul that acts as the mediator between

ideas and the natural phenomena; it is the cause of life, motion, order, and knowledge in

the universe. The idea retains its unity, unchangeableness, and perfections. It is the

element of reality in a thing, the concept by which a thing is known, thus implying the

element of reality in a thing, implying that the concrete thing itself in unreal. Thus, the

of the doctrine of opposites, also stated as heavenly realm/this world = being/not being.

Nominalism

In mathematics the term ‘nominal’ is synonymous with the term ‘data.’ Data is the

observations gathered from an experiment, survey, or observational study. Often the data

are a randomly selected sample from an underlying population. Numerical data are

discrete if the underlying population is finite or countably infinite and are continuous if

the underlying interval forms an interval, finite of infinite. 57 Data are descriptive and

have no natural order. Data specifying country of origin, type of vehicle, or subject

The nominalists have a methodology and goal that are Platonic in essence; the

only difference between them and traditional Platonists resides in their interpretations of

out which objects are denoted by universal terms. Thus, each singular term denotes a

57

Oxford’s Concise Dictionary of Mathematics.

48

certain substance or substantial unity. And all mathematical proof methods are valid and

does not make much distinction between pure and applied logic. Techniques of

nominalist logic have been used and developed by such logicians such as Godel, Quine,

and Tarski.

Naming Universals

number. ‘AC: The mathematical entities which share a certain property constitute a set of

which they are the elements and which is uniquely determined by a characteristic

property; Each set is a mathematical entity and thus may appear in its turn as an element

of a set; Two sets which contain the same elements are identical.’

sharing a certain property. Thus, turning a multitude into a unity is a compression. This

compression has been the source of many paradoxes in logic and set theory.

happen to inhere ‘by accident’ in one and the same individual object.” 58 For example,

‘the set of all morning stars’ and ‘the set of all evening stars’ have the same extension but

58

Beth, Foundations of Mathematics, p.466.

49

different intensions. The same could be said for mathematical expressions like Ex(x=2+2)

following manner: ‘Revised AC: (i) The mathematical entities which share a certain

property constitute a class of which they are the elements and which is uniquely

determined by the characteristic property; (ii) Classes satisfying such and such

conditions can be composed and are called sets; each set is a mathematical entity and

hence may appear as an element of a class; (iii) Two classes which contain the same

compression by (ii). But regardless of how the axiom of comprehension is revised, the

same impredicative definitions (in the original axiom) occur in all subsequent revisions.

classes and classes of classes whenever our symbolism suggests the possibility of such

dispense with any assumption about the existence of classes. In practice the three

59

Kneale & Kneale, Development of Logic, p.626.

50

naturalism. It denies that mathematics can be known a priori at all. It says that we

discover mathematical facts by empirical research, just like facts in any of the other

truths, which we can only learn by observing instances of two pairs coming together and

forming a quartet. For the empiricist, physics becomes the outlet to show and prove the

the argument that mathematics is indispensable to all empirical sciences. Thus, to believe

in the phenomena of reality described by the sciences, we ought also to believe in the

Since nature needs to talk about numbers in offering any of its explanations,

numbers must exist. In keeping with this view, Quine naturalistically argues for the

existence of mathematical entities as the best explanation for experience, thus stripping

If mathematics is just as empirical as the other sciences, then this suggests that its

results are just as fallible as theirs, and just as contingent. In Quine’s case, the empirical

justification comes indirectly through the coherence of our scientific theory as a whole.

Quine suggests that mathematics seems completely certain because the role it plays in our

web of belief is incredibly central, and that it would be extremely difficult for us to revise

60

Ibid., p.672.

51

Hilbert’s Program

about the consequences of certain string manipulation rules. For example, in the ‘game’

of Euclidean geometry (which is seen as consisting of some strings called ‘axioms,’ and

some ‘rules of inference’ to generate new strings from given ones), one can prove that the

Pythagorean theorem holds (that is, one can generate the string corresponding to the

numbers and sets and triangles and the like—in fact, they are not ‘about’ anything at all.

Pythagorean theorem is not an absolute truth, but a relative one: if one assigns meaning to

the strings in such a way that the rules of the game become true (i.e., true statements are

assigned to the axioms and the rules of inference are truth-preserving), then one has to

accept the theorem, or, rather, the interpretation one has given it must be a true statement.

The same is held to be true for all other mathematical statements. Thus, Platonic

formalism means that there exists some interpretation in which the rules of the game

hold. But it does allow the working mathematician to continue in his or her work and

leave such problems to the philosopher or scientist. Many formalists would say that in

practice, the axiom systems to be studied will be suggested by the demands of science or

program was intended to establish correspondence between semantic truth and syntactic

52

provability in first order logic and have no contradictions derived from the system

reached from the assumption that ‘finitary arithmetic’ (a subsystem of the usual

consistent.

Metamathematics

(i) Inclusive or: (φ ∨ψ) is a formula assigned truth value T under an interpretation of ℑ if

and only if φ is assigned a truth value T under ℑ of φ is assigned the truth value T under

ℑ.

(iii) Relation: Let ℑ = (U,β),be all interpretations such that ℑ╞ ∃xφ if and only if there is

Thus, to make precise the notion of a formula being true under an interpretation we use

the satisfaction relation. Fix a symbol set S, a simple formal system. For a set Ф of S-

Since Hilbert’s program of formalism deals mainly with the syntax of the formal

system of first order logic, we list the basic components of a first order formal system.

61

Ebbinghaus, Flum, and Thomas, Mathematical Logic, pp.32-35.

53

A = alphabet (symbols)

terms = formulas.

S-Terms are composed of variables, constants. If a string are S-terms and f is a n-ary

Origins of Intuitionism

Intuitionism is inherited from Kant; specifically, the notion that math intuition implies

space and time as forms of our sensibilities. Intuitionists treat logic and physics as

synonymous, since physics’ tasks of interpreting nature had been used as analogy for the

62

Beth, Foundations of Mathematics, p.410.

54

and Kant. Intuitionists say of math that ‘there are no non-experienced mathematical

truths.’ They seek “to reconstruct the foggy portions of mathematics in accordance with

objects arise from the a priori forms of the volitions that inform the perception of

empirical objects.” 63 Kroenecker said: “The natural numbers come from God, everything

else is man’s work.” These Platonists rejected the usefulness of formalized logic of any

sort for mathematics, and postulated an intuitionistic logic, different from the classical

Aristotelian logic; that logic does not contain the law of the excluded middle and

therefore frowns upon proofs by contradiction. The axiom of choice is also rejected in

the totality of integers (Z). If P is a predicate of Z, then either P is true of every integer or

there is at least one exception. Thus, disjunction (implying the law of the excluded

middle) is continually applied in analysis. For example, in the real numbers R: ‘for every

real number a and b given by the convergent series, either a = b, or a ≤ b, or b ≤ a.’ That

is, for some ordered integers p,n, where p ≤ n; f(n) is defined for very integer n where p ≤

n ≤ q: 64

(a) ∑f(n) ↔ f(p) +f(p +1)+ . . . +f(q), where n is a dummy index that can be placed by

63

Parsons, “Platonism and Mathematical Intuition,” p.542.

64

Rudin, Principles of Mathematical Analysis, p.8.

55

series with the terms x1, x2, .., xn, if the sequence s1=x, s2=x1+x2.., sn = x1+x2+ . . .

x2+ . . . +xn+ . . . is convergent with sum s. Thus, for two real numbers a and b; ∑xn ↔ a

decreasing.

rational such the number is smaller than all members of the sequence. {xn} → ∑xn = x1

+ x2+ . . . +xn+ . . .

So ∀a > 0∈R, ∃b > 0 such that |xn-A| < a iff 0 < |x-A| < b,

or (∀ε > 0)(a∈R)(b > a) so |xn -a| = |xn| = 1/a < ε, ∀a ≥ ai.

(ii) {xn}∈Q+, either {xn} → 0 or ∃q ≤ {x1 + x2 + . . . + xn}, q < xi, q < x2 . . . q ≤ xn.

Trivial disjunctions are subtle assumptions. Analysis is not content with such

Platonism; it reflects more with sets of numbers, sequences of numbers, and functions.

Analysis also abstracts from the possibility of giving definitions of sets, sequences, and

functions. Thus, in a quasi-combinatorial manner from infinite, to finite, and vice versa,

given a function (in N), where F(a) = b, there exists nⁿ functions, each obtained by n

determinations.

totality of such functions. Z is the set of the rest of infinitely many independent sets

deciding if every natural number should be included, and the totality of these sets.

56

Sequences and sets of R have the same analogy as Z, the constructive definition of

specific functions, sequences, and sets is the only way to pick out objects that exist

Platonic) in questions used in real analysis. Let M1, M2,..., be a sequence of nonempty

sets of R. Then there exists sequence m1,m2,..., such that for every natural number n,

has property P)’ depends on the assumption of the existence of ‘totality of sequences of

integers).

Real Numbers

The real numbers defined as ‘the union of rationals and irrationals’ are used to

show the fundamental theorem of real numbers that ‘a bounded set of S ⊄R always has a

least upper bound.’ 65 That is, for S ordered, E ⊄ S, E bounded above, there is a β ∈ S

Fundamental Theorem (1.11) 66 : Suppose S is an ordered set with the least upper

bound property, B ⊄ S, B ≠ 0 and B is bounded below. Let L = {all lower bounds of B},

then ∃α = supL ∈ S, α = inf B, inf B = S. Proof: Since B is bounded below, this implies

that L ≠∅; Since L includes all y ∈ S such that y ≤ x, ∀x ∈B, this implies that ∀x ∈ B is

65

Bernays, “Platonism in Mathematics,” p.5.

66

See Rudin, Principles of Mathematical Analysis, p.11.

57

but β ∉ L if β > α. (That is, α is a lower bound of B, but β is not if β > α. This means that

α = inf B.)

Set theory, as initially elaborated by Cantor, was considered by critics at the time

Cantor’s Theorem

collection, the well-known method of set theory. Thus, Platonic conception of analysis

Let A = set of all sequences whose elements are 0 and 1. Then A is uncountable. A

= [1,0,0,1,0,1,1,1,0,111,0,...].

Construct s: if nth digit in sn =1, let nth digit of s =1, vice versa. Then sequences differ

every countable subset E ∉ A is proper, thus A is uncountable (or A< A, which is false).

R is Uncountable

Cantor showed that there are infinite sets that cannot be put into one to one

correspondence with the infinite set of natural numbers. (This logic was later used by

58

infinite implies R and N have the same cardinality. (R~N) Let there exist a bijective f

from N onto R (f: N → R). We will show a contradiction that there is a real number x that

f(1) = a0.a1a2a3 . . .

f(2) = b0.b1b2b3. . .

f(3) = c0.c1c2c3 . . .

. . . . .* ...

. . . . . .*..

. . . . . . .*.

f(n)= z0.z1z2z3 . . . zn

numbers; we form the decimal a0.b1c2… zn to have same nth place as f(n). So x is the

anti-diagonal element, and it differs from diagonal decimal in every decimal place. Thus,

59

set theory, which refutes ‘extreme’ Platonism. Recall, restricted Platonism implies the

posits the existence of a world of ideal objects, contrary for all objects and relations of

paradox.

impossibility of extreme Platonism in set theory (objects and relations in math). The

paradox shows the impossibility of (i) the idea of totality of math objects and general

concept of sets and functions [totality = domain of elements for sets and functions] (ii)

function and to reject the idea of ‘infinity of independent determination.’ So the infinite

sequence of a decimal fraction can be given only by arithmetic laws. The continuum is a

The continuum hypothesis asks the question, are there any cardinalities between Q

and R? That is: ‘ (∃T ∈ R)(Q < T and T < R)’ and ‘ ¬ (∃T ∈ R)Q < T and T < R).’ 68 So the

questions are raised, are infinite sequence and decimal functions given only by N-laws?

67

Bernays, “Platonism in Mathematics,” p.5.

68

‘<’ = strict ordering. Fendel & Resek, Foundations of Mathematics, p.310.

60

certain conclusions are unfounded. For example, algebraic numbers are defined, but

Objects of analysis and set theory are viewed as elements of a totality such that,

whether some set E or ~E is an element of the totality which possesses this property.

When an object is viewed as itself, this is a form of mathematical Platonism. “The value

61

imagination. These stand out by their simplicity and logical strength. They form

Since it is possible to arithmetize geometry and physics, Cantor’s and Bernays’ focus on

Platonism shows itself in two ways. First, sets can be considered as domains or

theory). Secondly, these sets can be considered as arbitrary multitudes, to answer the

questions of whether and how they are defined. In the first case, we must accept that there

exist sets that we can never hope to find definitions for, in terms of the specific properties

of their elements. Even if a definition is found for such a set, it may involve

impredicative properties. And this second Platonic interpretation of set theory, involving

impredicative properties (that there are definitions that do not define a set) is a necessary

infinity, as opposed to the potential infinity attributed to Aristotle, from Eudoxus’ theory

of proportions. In the modern era, Cantor first offered a satisfactory positive solution to

the countability of the infinite by two methods: counting by cardinal numbers and

69

Bernays, “Platonism in Mathematics.”

62

Let x be a positive real number and let n0 be the largest integer where n0 ≤ x (the

existence of n0 in Z depends on the Archimedian property of R). Choose n0, n1, . . ., nk-

n1 nk

1, let nk be the largest integer such that n0 + + . . . = k ≤ x (k = 0,1,2,...). Then x =

10 10

sup E.

The decimal expansion of x is n0.n1n2n3... Thus, every infinite decimal has the form

n0.n1n2n3...,

n1 nk

the set E of numbers = n0 + + . . . = k is bounded above and n0.n1n2n3... is the

10 10

Godel’s Platonism

school of mathematical thought. His Platonism represents a unique combination of all the

and work in set theory and Platonism, provide the best examples of how Platonism is

inherit intuitionism from Kant, Godel’s philosophy articulates more clearly to Kant’s

intuitionism to develop a more robust realism, taking into account certain Leibnizian and

physics.

63

Given a formal language Φ, where φ1, φ2, ..., φn are formulas constructed from

elementary signs that form fundamental vocabulary, Φ has primitive formulas, called

axioms, that can be used to construct new formulas φi. Godel showed that it is possible to

incomplete.’ Godel constructed a demonstrable formula θ that says, ‘there is at least one

CONCLUSIONS

Platonism Defined

We have shown that key Platonic forms and ideas are expressed in modern logic

mathematics means tracing the development through time and space of such concepts as

philosophy, sense, intelligence, and categories. From such analysis we show how these

concepts are used to construct a method to define and shape such philosophical concepts

in what we now call mathematical logic, by showing the connection of Plato’s ‘idea’ and

the ‘universal quantifier’ ∀ used in mathematical logic. This operator, along with its

negation, the existential quantifier, is used to bind variables to quantify some condition in

a given universe of discourse. These universal and existential forms are categories of

70

For more details see Nagel, Godel’s Proof, p.76.

64

being known also as genera and species, ‘idea and things,’ or ‘logoi and pragmata.’

Maieutics

Since one of the objects of philosophy is to find truth, the definition and

does this relate to mathematics and logic? First and foremost, induction has been

delineated as the most basic type of logic, evolving later into more refined logic types

resulting in inference, dialectics, and more formalized proof methods. Prior to the

symbolism of modern logic, the aim and goal of philosophy, and logic in particular, was

Dialectics

induction, consider the most general case of induction used in today’s formal methods:

that is, so-called mathematical induction. Prior to the symbolism of modern mathematics,

philosophical induction served the same purpose of generalizing from a special basis.

Before modern math symbolically distinguished induction (1, n, n+1) in the natural

numbers (N), this distribution of objects into general and specifics was known as

‘dialectics.’ Dialectics, as a method of maieutics, took place mainly through the art of

65

Provability

and x, the actual proof of the formula, must be bounded by an existential quantifier.

Klein, mathematics has lost its certainty. Ontologically, in asking the question, “What is

mathematics?” or “What ‘be’ mathematics?” we can certainly state that math is not

simply formal methods. In philosophy as a method, initial elements are general notions

concepts. In defining objects, the method of philosophy expresses essence, divides genus

into species, and species into subspecies, stopping when division is no longer possible

Logicism

reducible to logic. According to Leibniz, “A truth is necessary when the opposite implies

developed the symbolic notation used today in modern logic and is credited with

transforming logic from a rhetorical art to a deductive science by the means of his

mathematics, Russell (and Whitehead) attempted to resolve Frege’s flawed Axiom 5 via

71

Klein, Mathematics: Loss of Certainty, p.60.

66

the Principia Mathematica (PM). Russell did know, of course, that Peano had derived the

real numbers from axioms about the whole numbers, and he was also aware that Hilbert

had given a set of axioms for the entire real numbers. Russell’s real concern was that

postulation of, say, 10 or 15 axioms about number does not ensure the consistency and

truth of the axioms. Russell could not distinguish between Euclidean and non-Euclidean

or affirm which was the truth. But in his Essay in the Foundations of Geometry (1898),

he did manage to find some mathematical laws, such as that physical space must be

homogeneous (possess the same properties everywhere), which he then believed were

physical truths.

type. Consider that the least upper bound (l.u.b.) is defined as the smallest of all upper

bounds, so the l.u.b. is defined in terms of the set of real numbers, R. Also, through the

first order. The PM system was then refuted and shown to be contradictory by Godel’s

especially in its aims to situate the rules of clear thinking with number theory, as well as

Critics of logicism: The axiom of reducibility seems arbitrary, but no proof of its

falsity has been shown. It is a happy accident, but not a logical necessity. A geometric

criticism of logicism is that, ‘by using analytic geometry one could do so’ (develop

geometry in PM). A philosophical critique of logicism says that ‘if the logistic view is

correct, then all math is a purely formal, logico-deductive science whose theorems follow

67

from laws of thought.’ Formalization apparently does not represent math in any real

sense. Nominalism is a spin off of logicism, and set theory interpreting and supposing

Intuitionism

The school of intuitionism traces its development back from Descartes to Kant

through Brouwer and also to a lesser extent from Descartes to Leibniz to Godel. Godel’s

intuitionism, which is a realism of abstract math objects extended to set theory, type

builds its own universe, independent of experience and restricted only insofar as it must

Mathematical ideas are more deeply imbedded in the human mind than in

perceptions. Mathematics is not bound to respect the rules of logic. In the realm of logic,

there are some clear intuitively acceptable logical principles or procedures that can be

used to assert new theorems from old ones. The intuitionist Herman Weyl said that non-

constructive existence proofs inform the world that a treasure exists without disclosing its

location. So the different types of intuitionists are those that: (1) Eliminate all set theory

and form only constructed concepts. (2) Hold that: ‘For every real number in the math

universe, p(r) holds if R is a class.’ That is, for every integer, z, in the math universe, p(z)

68

is a function. Existence proofs, axiom of choice, and the continuum hypothesis are non-

reliance upon logical deduction from axioms, Brouwer says that a system of axioms must

consistent. Regardless, Weyl says in 1951, “I think everybody has to accept Brouwer’s

critique who wants to hold to the belief that math propositions tell the sheer truth, truth

the manner of Cantor so that they can avoid Cantor’s peculiar puzzles. Then they might

argue and see that it was useless to detailed discussion of an assumption whose absurdity

could be seen without even referring to paradoxes. From Brouwer’s statement that “neo-

intuitionism considers the falling apart of the moments of life into qualitatively different

phenomena of the human intellect,” 73 we get the intuition of mathematically defined sets

as being of the betweenness which is not exhaustible by interposition of new units and

therefore can not be thought of as a mere collection of units. In a Platonic sense, Brouwer

rejects all connection to actual infinity and real numbers as an open interval. N is an open

manifold always in growth, unfinished, and comprehended only by the law of number

construction. Intuitionism shares a core part with most other forms of constructivism. The

logic accepted by almost all constructive communities is the same, namely intuitionistic

logic.

72

Ibid., p.319.

73

Kneale & Kneale, Development of Logic, p.673.

69

Formalism

This school begins with David Hilbert in 1900. For Hilbert and the formalists, one

cannot deduce math from logic because math is its own autonomous discipline, not a

consequence of logic. The formalist believes that in the real world only a finite number of

objects exist and that matter is composed of a finite number of elements. Formalist logic

is Aristotle’s logic. Hilbert proposed that a special logic be used free from all objections.

Like the logicist school of mathematics, the intuitionists objected to the formalist concept

foundations of logic and math, suggested a new program for eliminating newly

discovered paradoxes by axiomatizing logic, theory, analysis, and set theory. For the

mathematics is beside, not interior to, classical math, according to the intuitionists.

Set Theory

Set theory gradually gained adherents to their explicit program. Though set theory

is incorporated in the logicist approach to math, set theory prefers to approach math

directly through axioms. In the axioms, there are infinite sets and operations like the

union of sets and formation of subsets, as well as the axiom of choice. ZF axioms for set

theory can build all mathematics. The Bourbaki school renounces logicism, formalism,

and intuitionism. Cantor’s original theory of sets was a logical theory of natural numbers

prior to Frege. Cantor thought his work was a discovery of laws not made by man.

70

Knowledge

Whenever then anyone gets hold of the true notion of everything without a

logos, his soul thinks truly of it; but he does not know it, for if one cannot

give and receive a logos of anything, one has no knowledge of that thing;

but when he has acquired a logos, then all things are realized and he is

fully equipped for knowledge. 74

‘Logos’ is classically discussed by Plato but barely understood by the modern Platonists.

Even though considered a weak claim, forms imply verbs, adjectives, nouns, and

constitute names of simple nameables. Refuting the old critique of the theory of ideas

would say that knowledge is related to perception, which is Plato’s concern. Citing the

interpretations by two Platonists provides evidence that most of these arguments of what

constitutes Platonism are never settled. Ryles’ interpretation of theory of ideas states that

Symposium Plato says, “After long training, the soul sees beauty in itself.” 75 Knowledge

Plato is usually concerned with is not ordinary. It seems apparent that ‘knowledge by

Logos

Etymologically, ‘logos’ comes from the verb ‘legein,’ which means ‘to tell, state,

interpretations of Platonism include the basis that forms are simple nameables known

74

Theaetetus: (202), cited in Allen’s Studies in Plato’s Metaphysics, p.62.

75

Symposium: (210e -212a) and Ryles cited in Allen’s Studies in Plato’s Metaphysics, p.65.

71

ultimately by acquaintance. It is incorrect when we talk about idea (form), but it is correct

when we talk with idea (form), and logoi (pieces of talk) are necessary to display idea

(form) to us. The main point is that forms are logical predicates displayed in logoi and

not simple nameables known by acquaintance, and that Platonists put the theory of ideas

Mathematical Platonism

include: where and how do the mathematical entities exist, and how do we know about

and are eternal and unchanging. Mathematical Platonism suggests that quasi-empirical

assume such a conjecture. Logicism is the school of mathematics that associates with the

Logicists use Platonic notions when they correct and add new axioms in order to

reformulate old unworkable ones, such as the axiom of reducibility that replaced Frege’s

basic law V and the axiom of comprehension. Logicism’s main business is to define the

to pure logic, to prove theorems of pure mathematics, starting with postulates, nothing

but the basic principles of logic, and applying only logical methods of proof. In the

logicist PM-system, Russell and Whitehead use a theory of types to avoid the

72

axiom of reducibility and the theory of types in general are Platonic notions because for

propositions, ‘every p of a higher type is equivalent to one of 1st order.’ So the (imperfect)

internal criticisms include the question of naming universals. For example, Quine has a

to Quine’s interpretation of it, states the existence of logical and mathematical entities;

various views have been defended by specialists in math foundations. One nominalist

objection is the negation of the compression of multitudes into unity, but ‘admission of

compressed multitude.’ According to the logician Beth, “We are compelled to admit the

existence of sets for which we can’t hope ever to find a definition in terms of specific

properties of their elements, where for a set such a definition can be found, it may turn

one is sure if the axiom of infinity is an axiom of logic, and the use of the theory of types

76

Beth, Foundations of Mathematics, p.408.

73

Platonic Formalism

about the consequences of certain string manipulation rules. Another version of Platonic

was David Hilbert, whose program was intended to establish correspondence between

semantic truth and syntactic provability in first order logic and have no contradictions

especially with respect to finitary arithmetic. The main critique of formalism is that the

actual mathematical ideas that occupy mathematicians are far removed from the string

Objects of analysis and set theory are viewed as elements of a totality, such that

rational, such that the number is smaller than all members of the sequence. In the infinite

each m ∈ Z an n ∉ Z, such that we reason on the totality of such functions. The axiom of

74

analysis. Fundamental Theorem (1.11) 77 : Suppose S is an ordered set with the least upper

Platonic Intuition

which mental activity takes place. The weak N-Platonism used to illustrate formal

either comes as close as possible to zero or E, a positive rational, such the number is

smaller than all members of the sequence. In the infinite case, f ∞ (n) are functions

such that we reason on the totality of such functions. The axiom of choice is an

numbers defined as the union of rationals and irrationals are used to show the

fundamental theorem of real numbers that in ‘a bounded set of S ⊄ R always has a least

upper bound.’ According to intuitionism, the term ‘explicit construction’ is not cleanly

defined, and that has led to criticisms. Recall that the idea is an object (nota) of

intelligence (good, beautiful, etc.). Objects imply a division within intelligibles, not a

class of mathematical numbers and figures intermediate between ideas and sensible

things. Plato is given credit for discovering the method of analysis. Godel was a self-

thought. Godel is not a modest intuitionist such as Brouwer, since he inherits and

77

Rudin, Principles of Mathematical Analysis, p.13.

75

Cantor’s Theorem

So the questions are raised, are infinite sequence and decimal functions given only by N-

Cantor’s set theory, especially in light of the philosophical implication, Platonism shows

itself in two ways. For positive real numbers, r ∈ R, when constructing decimal numbers,

we let x be a positive real number and let n0 be the largest integer where n0 ≤ x. The

Platonism is inherent in all of mathematics in the same manner that all the schools

of mathematics share their techniques and strategies with each other in order to articulate

and solve more mathematical problems. For example, even though Brouwer is an

intuitionist, his fixed point theorem was used by the formalist von Neumann to develop

78

Bernays, “Platonism in Mathematics,” p.17.

76

game theory. Years later, Nash got a Nobel Prize in Economics for his work exploiting

Brouwer’s fixed point theorem to develop Nash’s equilibrium in game theory. The

application of mathematics in various fields and subdisciplines begins first with the

ideas exist in the realm of the intelligible, and only through intellect via logos are such

ideas reached.

77

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