Labyrinth of Thought: A History of Set Theory and Its Role in Modern Mathematics, Edition 2

Springer Science & Business Media
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Labyrinth of Thought discusses the emergence and development of set theory and the set-theoretic approach to mathematics during the period 1850-1940. Rather than focusing on the pivotal figure of Georg Cantor, it analyzes his work and the emergence of transfinite set theory within the broader context of the rise of modern mathematics. The text has a tripartite structure. Part 1, The Emergence of Sets within Mathematics, surveys the initial motivations for a mathematical notion of a set within several branches of the discipline (geometry, algebra, algebraic number theory, real and complex analysis), emphasizing the role played by Riemann in fostering acceptance of the set-theoretic approach. In Part 2, Entering the Labyrinth, attention turns to the earliest theories of sets, their evolution, and their reception by the mathematical community; prominent are the epoch-making contributions of Cantor and Dedekind, and the complex interactions between them. Part 3, In Search of an Axiom System, studies the four-decade period from the discovery of set-theoretic paradoxes to Gödel’s independence results, an era during which set theory gradually became assimilated into mainstream mathematics; particular attention is given to the interactions between axiomatic set theory and modern systems of formal logic, especially the interplay between set theory and type theory. A new Epilogue for this second edition offers further reflections on the foundations of set theory, including the "dichotomy conception" and the well-known iterative conception.
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Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Oct 4, 2008
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Pages
466
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ISBN
9783764383503
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Language
English
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Genres
Mathematics / General
Mathematics / History & Philosophy
Science / Physics / Mathematical & Computational
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This content is DRM protected.
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While many books have been written about Bertrand Russell's philosophy and some on his logic, I. Grattan-Guinness has written the first comprehensive history of the mathematical background, content, and impact of the mathematical logic and philosophy of mathematics that Russell developed with A. N. Whitehead in their Principia mathematica (1910-1913).
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This definitive history of a critical period in mathematics includes detailed accounts of the two principal influences upon Russell around 1900: the set theory of Cantor and the mathematical logic of Peano and his followers. Substantial surveys are provided of many related topics and figures of the late nineteenth century: the foundations of mathematical analysis under Weierstrass; the creation of algebraic logic by De Morgan, Boole, Peirce, Schröder, and Jevons; the contributions of Dedekind and Frege; the phenomenology of Husserl; and the proof theory of Hilbert. The many-sided story of the reception is recorded up to 1940, including the rise of logic in Poland and the impact on Vienna Circle philosophers Carnap and Gödel. A strong American theme runs though the story, beginning with the mathematician E. H. Moore and the philosopher Josiah Royce, and stretching through the emergence of Church and Quine, and the 1930s immigration of Carnap and GödeI.


Grattan-Guinness draws on around fifty manuscript collections, including the Russell Archives, as well as many original reviews. The bibliography comprises around 1,900 items, bringing to light a wealth of primary materials.


Written for mathematicians, logicians, historians, and philosophers--especially those interested in the historical interaction between these disciplines--this authoritative account tells an important story from its most neglected point of view. Whitehead and Russell hoped to show that (much of) mathematics was expressible within their logic; they failed in various ways, but no definitive alternative position emerged then or since.

The concept of infinity is one of the most important, and at the same time, one of the most mysterious concepts of science. Already in antiquity many philosophers and mathematicians pondered over its contradictory nature. In mathematics, the contradictions connected with infinity intensified after the creation, at the end of the 19th century, of the theory of infinite sets and the subsequent discovery, soon after, of paradoxes in this theory. At the time, many scientists ignored the paradoxes and used set theory extensively in their work, while others subjected set-theoretic methods in mathematics to harsh criticism. The debate intensified when a group of French mathematicians, who wrote under the pseudonym of Nicolas Bourbaki, tried to erect the whole edifice of mathematics on the single notion of a set. Some mathematicians greeted this attempt enthusiastically while others regarded it as an unnecessary formalization, an attempt to tear mathematics away from life-giving practical applications that sustain it. These differences notwithstanding, Bourbaki has had a significant influence on the evolution of mathematics in the twentieth century. In this book we try to tell the reader how the idea of the infinite arose and developed in physics and in mathematics, how the theory of infinite sets was constructed, what paradoxes it has led to, what significant efforts have been made to eliminate the resulting contradictions, and what routes scientists are trying to find that would provide a way out of the many difficulties.
Kurt Gödel (1906-1978) was an Austrian-American mathematician, who is best known for his incompleteness theorems. He was the greatest mathematical logician of the 20th century, with his contributions extending to Einstein’s general relativity, as he proved that Einstein’s theory allows for time machines.

The Gödel incompleteness theorem - the usual formal mathematical systems cannot prove nor disprove all true mathematical sentences - is frequently presented in textbooks as something that happens in the rarefied realms of mathematical logic, and that has nothing to do with the real world. Practice shows the contrary though; one can demonstrate the validity of the phenomenon in various areas, ranging from chaos theory and physics to economics and even ecology. In this lively treatise, based on Chaitin’s groundbreaking work and on the da Costa-Doria results in physics, ecology, economics and computer science, the authors show that the Gödel incompleteness phenomenon can directly bear on the practice of science and perhaps on our everyday life.

This accessible book gives a new, detailed and elementary explanation of the Gödel incompleteness theorems and presents the Chaitin results and their relation to the da Costa-Doria results, which are given in full, but with no technicalities. Besides theory, the historical report and personal stories about the main character and on this book’s writing process, make it appealing leisure reading for those interested in mathematics, logic, physics, philosophy and computer sciences.

See also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REy9noY5Sg8

The Freakonomics of math—a math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands

The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do—the whole world is shot through with it.

Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of our world. It’s a science of not being wrong, hammered out by centuries of hard work and argument. Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does “public opinion” really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer?

How Not to Be Wrong presents the surprising revelations behind all of these questions and many more, using the mathematician’s method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman—minus the jargon. Ellenberg chases mathematical threads through a vast range of time and space, from the everyday to the cosmic, encountering, among other things, baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, and the existence of God.

Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need. Math, as Ellenberg says, is “an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength.” With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.
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