[FOM] philosophical literature on intuitionism
giuseppina.ronzitti@helsinki.fi
giuseppina.ronzitti at helsinki.fi
Fri Oct 24 11:04:14 EDT 2008
Quoting "William Tait" <williamtait at mac.com>:
> Incidentally, I possess lecture notes "Inleiding tot de
> Intuitionistische Wiskunde", for a course by Heyting in 1952-3, edited
> by Johann de Iongh. I got them when I was a student in Amsterdam in
> 1954-5. They are typed in Dutch with symbols drawn in by hand. There
> doesn't seem to be much more than is in Heyting's book *Intuitionism:
> An Introduction*, but my now almost nonexistent Dutch does not admit
> of accurate skimming. I expect that there are other copies of the
> notes around, but I mention mine just in case. (I don't think these
> notes were mentioned by anyone in listing the literature on
> intuitionism.)
This remark seems to suggest that the best *philosophical
introduction* to intuitionism is indeed an introduction to
intuitionistic mathematics (Inleiding tot de Intuitionistische
Wiskunde), and I do agree (I don't intend to say that is prof. Tait's
opinion, though). On this line, more recent lectures notes (still in
Dutch) are Wim Veldman's "Intuitionistische Wiskunde" (Intuitionistic
Mathematics) for the course he gives on the subject in Nijmegen (NL).
Unfortunately, there is no much else (beside Kleene and Vesley
monography it may be worth mentioning Dragalin's useful book,
"Mathematical Intuitionism, introduction to proof theory" which also
discusses different formalizations of intuitionistic analysis).
For my part, I do not see the (philosophical or mathematical) need for
a "creative" or "creating" subject argument (very unfortunate
terminology) in justifying intuitionistic reasoning based on the
adoption of infinitely proceeding sequences of natural numbers as
*legitimate* mathematical objects - as I do not see that the adoption
of actual infinite sets as *legitimate* mathematical objects and
reasoning about them is ever justified on the basis of some
*philosophical* argument.
The philosophical debate about the adoption of some mathematical
entity as a *legitimate* mathematical object is of course interesting
(when (self-)critical and not dogmatic, as often is, at least it seems
to me, the *philosophical* literature on intuitionism) - but as the
two things, "intuitionism as a philosophy" and "intuitionism as
mathematics", are constantly mixed up in a way that a refusal of
"intuitionism as a philosophy" leads to a refusal of intuitionistic
mathematics as *legitimate* mathematics, I really think that the best
way to be introduced to the philosophical conception(s) (and I'm not
at all speaking of "creating" or "creative" subject's arguments)
underlying intuitionistic mathematics is by studying the basic notions
and principles of intuitionistic mathematics: how "entities" and
"collections of given entities" are defined and which principles of
reasoning are or aren't allowed on the basis of their constitution,
what follows from them, etc. etc.
Best regards,
Giuseppina Ronzitti
--
Department of Philosophy
University of Helsinki
P.O. Box 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 20 A)
00014 University of Helsinki - Finland
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