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Different Senses of Finitude: an inquiry into Hilbert's finitism
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Metaphysics.
2012 (English)In: Synthese, ISSN 0039-7857, E-ISSN 1573-0964, Vol. 185, no 3, 335-363 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article develops a critical investigation of the epistemological core of Hilbert's foundational project, the so-called the finitary attitude. The investigation proceeds by distinguishing different senses of 'number' and 'finitude' that have been used in the philosophical arguments. The usual notion of modern pure mathematics, i.e. the sense of number which is implicit in the notion of an arbitrary finite sequence and iteration is one sense of number and finitude. Another sense, of older origin, is connected with practices of counting concrete things, and a third sense is linked up with the immediate intuitive experience of multitudes of concrete things. Hilbert's finitism is examined with respect to these differences, and it will be shown that there is a tendency to conflate the different senses of number and finitude, a tendency which has been a source of problems in the discussion of the foundations of mathematics and in the philosophy of logic and language.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer , 2012. Vol. 185, no 3, 335-363 p.
Keyword [en]
Husserl, Hilbert, Life-word, Finitism, Metamathematics, Kant, Perceptual intuition, Number, Counting, Concrete objects, Surveyable, Foundations of mathematics
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Research subject
Theoretical Philosophy
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-146172DOI: 10.1007/s11229-010-9823-2ISI: 000303530700002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-146172DiVA: diva2:397682
Available from: 2011-02-15 Created: 2011-02-15 Last updated: 2012-06-04Bibliographically approved

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Stenlund, Sören
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Logic and Metaphysics
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