Neo-Logicism and Its Logic

History and Philosophy of Logic 41 (1):82-95 (2020)
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The rather unrestrained use of second-order logic in the neo-logicist program is critically examined. It is argued in some detail that it brings with it genuine set-theoretical existence assumptions and that the mathematical power that Hume’s Principle seems to provide, in the derivation of Frege’s Theorem, comes largely from the ‘logic’ assumed rather than from Hume’s Principle. It is shown that Hume’s Principle is in reality not stronger than the very weak Robinson Arithmetic Q. Consequently, only a few rudimentary facts of arithmetic are logically derivable from Hume’s Principle. And that hardly counts as a vindication of logicism.

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Panu Raatikainen
Tampere University


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