Structural Relativity and Informal Rigour

In Objects, Structures, and Logics, FilMat Studies in the Philosophy of Mathematics (forthcoming)
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Abstract
Informal rigour is the process by which we come to understand particular mathematical structures and then manifest this rigour through axiomatisations. Structural relativity is the idea that the kinds of structures we isolate are dependent upon the logic we employ. We bring together these ideas by considering the level of informal rigour exhibited by our set-theoretic discourse, and argue that different foundational programmes should countenance different underlying logics (intermediate between first- and second-order) for formulating set theory. By bringing considerations of perturbations in modal space to bear on the debate, we will suggest that a promising option for representing current set-theoretic thought is given by formulating set theory using quasi-weak second-order logic. These observations indicate that the usual division of structures into \particular (e.g. the natural number structure) and general (e.g. the group structure) is perhaps too coarse grained; we should also make a distinction between intentionally and unintentionally general structures.
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First archival date: 2020-03-08
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