Oct 10, 2012

Elegi Menggapai "Formalism as the Epistemological Foundation of Mathematics"

By Marsigit
Yogyakarta State University

The formalist school was founded by David Hilbert.

In his Grundlagen der Geometrίe (1899), Hilbert 1 had sharpened the mathematical method from the material axio¬matics of Euclid to the formal axίomatics of the present day.

The formalist point of view 2 is developed by Hilbert to meet the crisis caused by the paradoxes of set theory and the challenge to classical mathematics caused by intuitionistic criticism.

The formalist thesίs is that mathematics is concerned with formal symbolic systems.

In fact, mathematics 3 is regarded as a collection of such abstract developments, in which the terms are mere symbols and the statements are formulas involving these symbols; the ultimate base of mathematics does not lie in logic but only in a collection of prelogical marks or symbols and in a set of operations with these marks.

In a formal system, everything is reduced to form and rule .4

Since, from the formalist point of view, mathematics 5 is devoίd of concrete content and contains only ideal symbolic elements, the establishment of the consistency of the varίous branches of mathematics becomes an important and necessary part of the formalίst program.

Without such an accompanying consίstent proof 6, the whole study is essentially senseless.

Eves H. and Newsom C.V. explicates the following:
Ιn the formalist thesis we have the axίοmatίc development of mathematics pushed to its extreme. The success or failure of Hilbert's program to save classical mathematics hinges upοn the solution of the consistency problem. Freedom from contradiction is guaranteed only by consistency proofs, and the older consistency proofs based upοn interpretations and models usually merely shift the question of consistency from one domain of mathematics to another. Ιn other words, a consίstency proof by the method of models is only relative.

Hilbert 7, therefore, conceives a new direct approach to the consistency problem; much as one may prove, by the rules of a game that certain situations cannot occur within the game.

Hilbert hopes to prove, by a suίtable set of rules of procedure for obtaining acceptable formulas from the basic symbols, that a contradictory fοrmula can never occur.

If one can show that nο such contradictory formula is possible, then one has established the consistency of the system.

Hilbert calls a direct test for consίstency in mathematίcs as proof theory.

In Hilbert’s view 8, it mirrors the exact movement of the mathematicians mind.

For certain elementary systems, proofs of consistency were carried out, which illustrated what Hilbert would like to have done for all classical mathematics, but the problem of consistency remained refractory.

It 9 is impossible for a sufficiently rich formalized deductive system, such as Hilbert's system for all classical mathematics, to prove consistency of the system by methods belonging to the system.

Eves H. and Newsom C.V. ascertains that as to response that problem, this remarkable result is a consequence of an even more fundamental one, Godel proves the incompleteness of Hilbert's system viz. he established the existence within the system of "undecίdable" problems, of which cοnsistency of the system is one.

Godel 10 saw that the formal systems known to be adequate for the derivation of mathematics are unsafe in the sense that their consistency cannot be demonstrated by finitary methods formalized within the system, whereas any system known to be safe in this sense is inadequate.

Gödel 11 showed that there was no system of Hilbert's type within which the integers could be defined and which was both consistent and complete.

Gödel's dissertation proved the completeness of first-order logic; this proof became known as Gödel's Completeness Theorem.

Gödel showed anything that we can represent in a formal system of number theory is finitary.

Following is excerpted from Eves H. and Newsom C.V. (1964):
According to Godel, if S be a formal system for number theory and if S is consistent, then there is a sentence, G, such that neither G nor the negation of G is a theorem of S. Thus, any formal system sufficient to express the theorems of number theory has to be incomplete. Gödel showed that S can prove P(n) just in case n is the Gödel-number of a theorem of S; hence there exists k, such that k is a Gödel-number of the formula P(k)=G and this statement says of itself, it is not provable.

According to Gödel, even if we define a new formal system S = S + G, we can find G which isn't provable in S; thus, S can prove that if S is consistent, then G is not provable.

Gödel elaborated that if S can prove Cst(S), then S can prove G, but if S is consistent, it can't prove G, thus, it can't prove its consistency. Thus, Hilbert's Program does not work.

Ultimately, one cannot prove the consistency of a mathematical theory.

1 Eves, H and Newsom, C.V., 1964, “An Introduction to the Foundation & Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics”, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, p.287-288
3 Ibid.p.290
4 Soehakso, RMJT, 1989, “Some Thought on Philosophy and Mathematics”, Yogyakarta: Regional Conference South East Asian Mathematical Society, p.14
5Eves, H and Newsom, C.V., 1964, “An Introduction to the Foundation & Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics”, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, p.289
6 Ibid.p.290
7 Ibid.p.290
8 Soehakso, RMJT, 1989, “Some Thought on Philosophy and Mathematics”, Yogyakarta: Regional Conference South East Asian Mathematical Society, p.15
9 Eves, H and Newsom, C.V., 1964, “An Introduction to the Foundation & Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics”, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, pp.290
10 Ibid.p.290
11Folkerts, M., 2004, “Mathematics in the 17th and 18th centuries”, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Retrieved 2004


  1. Kartika Pramudita
    PEP S2 B
    Formalisme dalam matematika menganggap bahwa matematika bukanlah logika tetapi merupakan sekumpulan simbol-simbol. Hilbert membuktikan bahwa matematika adalah konsisten. Namun selanjutnya teori tersebut dibantah oleh Godel. Godel mengungkapkan bahwa apabila matematika konsisten maka akan terjadi ketidaklengkapannya sedangkan apabila matematika lengkap maka akan terjadi ketidakkonsistenannya sehingga matematika yang lengkap dan konsisten tidak dapat dipenuhi dalam waktu yang sama.

  2. Tri Wulaningrum
    PEP S2 B

    Formalisme dalam filsafat matematika. Formalisme hadir menjadi warna tersendiri bagi seseorang yang menggunakannya sebagai tolok ukur dalam meletakkan sudut pandangnya terhadap matematika. Maka pernyataan bahwa matematika menurut formalisme bukanlah logika melainkan sekumpulan simbol bermaksud bahwa matematika bukanlah kumpulan proposisi yang mewakili sektor realitas abstrak namun jauh lebih mirip dengan suatu peta konsep (terkadang dilihat sebagai suatu "permainan") yang menggambarkan sudut pandang pemecahan masalah.

  3. Muh Wildanul Firdaus
    Pendidikan matematika S2 kls C

    Pendekatan aksiomatik dari matematika akan lebih memaknai matematika itu sendiri, secara ontologi kita dapat memaknai matematika pada tataran definisi, secara epistimologi kita dapat memaknai matematika melalui metode/pendekatan yang inovatif yang membangun pengetahuan secara mandiri. Namun dengan aksiologi kita lebih memaknai matematika atas dasar manfaatnya, jika kita mengetahui manfaatnya maka kita akan lebih menghargai dan memaknai matematika.

  4. Rahmi Puspita Arum
    PPs P.Mat A UNY 2017

    Pelopor formalism adalah seorang ahli matematika terbesar yaitu David Hilbert yang berpendapat bahwa matematika adalah tidak lebih atau tidak kurang sebagai bahasa matematika. Hal ini disederhanakan sebagai deretan permainan dengan rangkaian simbol-simbol linguistik. Simbol-simbol dianggap mewakili berbagai sasaran yang menjadi objek matematika. Formalism menyatakan bahwa matematika merupakan sistem lambang yang digunakan dalam mewakili benda-benda yang ada.

  5. Nama: Dian Andarwati
    NIM: 17709251063
    Kelas: Pendidikan Matematika (S2) Kelas C

    Assalamu’alaikum. Sudut pandang formalis dikembangkan oleh Hilbert untuk memenuhi krisis yang disebabkan oleh paradoks teori himpunan dan tantangan terhadap matematika klasik yang disebabkan oleh kritik intuisi. Inti formalis adalah bahwa matematika berkaitan dengan sistem simbolis formal. Dari sudut pandang formalis, matematika menghasilkan konten konkret dan hanya berisi unsur simbolis yang ideal, pembentukan konsistensi cabang matematika yang berbeda menjadi bagian penting dan penting dari program formal.

  6. Ulivia Isnawati Kusuma
    PPs Pend Mat A 2017

    Epistemologi merupakan bagian filsafat yang membicarakan tentang pengetahuan, terjadinya pengetahuan, sumber pengetahuan, jenis-jenis pengetahuan, dan asal usul pengetahuan. Pengetahuan diperoleh manusia melalui akal dan panca indera dengan berbagai metode. Metode-metode untuk memperoleh pengetahuan yaitu metode empiris, rasionalisme, naturalisme, dan sebagainya. Epistemologi berarti bagaimana kita mengetahui apa itu pengetahuan. Tetapi sebelum pada epistemologi kita harus mengetahui ontologi (apa itu realitas atau kenyataan). Matematika itu sendiri merupakan pengetahuan yang pasti dari semua ilmu pengetahuan karena materi pada matematika itu bisa dibuktikan dengan prosedur untuk memverifikasi kebenaran. Sehingga ketika prosedurnya benar, maka akan menghasilkan pengetahuan yang benar pula.

  7. Isoka Amanah Kurnia
    PPs Pendidikan Matematika 2017 Kelas C

    Formalism has the principle that mathematical statements can be interpreted as statements about the consequences of certain rules or sets of manipulations. The mathematical truth is not about numbers and sets and triangles and the like. According to this elegan mathematics is a knowledge of the formal structure of symbols or symbols. Mathematics deals with the structural properties of the symbols and processing of symbols. The program is to build consistency throughout mathematics by using evidence theory.