Oct 10, 2012

Elegi Menggapai 'The Foundations of Mathematics'

By Marsigit
Yogyakarta State University

The search for foundations of mathematics is in line with the search for philosophical foundation in general. The aspects of the foundation of mathematics can be traced through the tread of philosophical history and mathematics history as well. Hersh, R. elaborates that the foundations of mathematics 1 have ancient roots; the philosophers behind Frege are Hilbert, Brouwer, Immanuel Kant. The philosopher behind Kant is

Gottfried Leibniz; the philosophers behind Leibniz are Baruch Spin¬oza and Rene Descartes. The philosophers behind all of them are Thomas Aquinas, Augustine of Hippo, Plato, and the great grandfather of foundationism-Pythagoras.
The term "foundations of mathematics" 2 is sometimes used for certain fields of mathematics itself, namely for mathematical logic, axiomatic set theory, proof theory and model theory. The search for foundations of mathematics is however also the central question of the philosophy of mathematics: on what ultimate basis can mathematical statements be called "true"? Hersh R. describes that , the name "foundationism" was invented by a prolific name-giver, Imre Lakatos. Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Luitjens Brouwer and David Hilbert, are all hooked on the same delusion that mathematics must have a firm foundation; however, they differ on what the foundation should be. The currently foundation of mathematics 3 is, characteristically as more formalistic approach, based on axiomatic set theory and formal logic; and therefore, all mathematical theorems today can be formulated as theorems of set theory.
Hersh R. (1997) writes that the truth of a mathematical statement, in the current view, is then nothing but the claim that the statement can be derived from the axioms of set theory using the rules of formal logic. However, this formalistic 4 approach does not explain several issues such as: why we should use the axioms we do and not some others, why we should employ the logical rules we do and not some other, why "true" mathematical statements appear to be true in the physical world. The above mentioned notion of formalistic truth could also turn out to be rather pointless; it is perfectly possible that all statements, even contradictions, can be derived from the axioms of set theory. Moreover, as a consequence of Gödel's second incompleteness theorem, we can never be sure that this is not the case.

1 Hersh, R., 1997, “What is Mathematics, Really?”, London: Jonathan Cape, p. 91
2 …….., “Foundations of mathematics”, Retrieved 2004 < http://www.wikipedia.org/>
3 Hersh, R., 1997, “What is Mathematics, Really?”, London: Jonathan Cape, p.91
4 Ibid. p. 256

1 comment:

    PPS2016PEP B
    began the 20th-century quest to rebuild mathematics on a new basis independent of geometric intuitions. Early efforts included those of the logicist school of the British mathematicians Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead, the formalist school of the German mathematician David Hilbert, the intuitionist school of the Dutch mathematician L.E.J. Brouwer, and the French set theory school of mathematicians collectively writing under the pseudonym of Nicolas Bourbaki. Some of the most promising current research is based on the development of category theory by the American mathematician Saunders Mac Lane and the Polish-born American mathematician Samuel Eilenberg following World War II.


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