FOM: Godel/Wittgenstein, classical f.o.m.

Harvey Friedman friedman at
Mon Mar 9 17:36:54 EST 1998

Forster 4:09PM 3/9/98 writes:

>   I hope Juliette Kennedy isn't distracted by the tone of Harvey's
>message from the need to appreciate that this is what most mathematicians
>(those who have views about philosophy of mathematics at least) actually
>   Some of us - like your humble correspondent - drifted into mathematics
>from philosophy for roughly that reason.....

What exactly do "most mathematicians" actually think in this context? What
"reason" did you "drift into mathematics from philosophy"?

Tragesser 1:48PM 3/9/98 writes:

>        I was more hoping for careful
>statements of significant foundational
>aims,  issues,  or problems and,
>MOST IMPORTANTLY.  a thoughtful,
>"scientific",  consideration of the
>terms/conditions of their solution,
>        If this were done,  one
>could better evaluate different
>foundational claims and claims made
>for foundational schemes.
>        One sees very strong opinions
>voiced here on FOM,  but little in the way
>of definite,  concrete, statement of
>specific foundational problems and the
>terms of their solution.
>        After a century of experience,
>this should be feasible,  though clearly
>hard to do.

There is a wealth of great acheivments of classical f.o.m. from Aristotle
through Godel that are extremely well known, especially to the fom
subscriber list. This is without even getting into "modern" developments. I
(pretend to) have no idea where you are coming from, or what your hidden
agenda might be (which is false since I have read and responded to your
postings). After all, there is a wealth of material in the first three
volumes of Godel's Collected Works, as well as in von Heijenoort's from
Frege to Godel. If you do not find these materials convincing, then you
should specify what your issues really are in a focused way, and we can
start from there (in a way, you have done this to some extent in some of
your postings). I, for one, think there should be a major 1000+ treatise on
Foundations of Mathematics which treats the subject systematically, and
contains the relevant developments in mathematical logic in a self
contained way; and if I were writing such a badly needed treatise, I could
conveniently reply to your request regardless of where you are coming from.
However, in the present circumstances, I have to know what you are about in
order to be appropriately responsive.

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