Transfinite ordinalnumbers enter mathematical practice mainly via the method of definition by transfinite recursion. Outside of axiomatic set theory, there is a significant mathematical tradition in works recasting proofs by transfinite recursion in other terms, mostly with the intention of eliminating the ordinals from the proofs. Leaving aside the different motivations which lead each specific case, we investigate the mathematics of this action of proof transforming and we address the problem of formalising the philosophical notion of elimination (...) which characterises this move. (shrink)
I follow standard mathematical practice and theory to argue that the natural numbers are the finite von Neumann ordinals. I present the reasons standardly given for identifying the natural numbers with the finite von Neumann's. I give a detailed mathematical demonstration that 0 is {} and for every natural number n, n is the set of all natural numbers less than n. Natural numbers are sets. They are the finite von Neumann ordinals.
Darwiche and Pearl’s seminal 1997 article outlined a number of baseline principles for a logic of iterated belief revision. These principles, the DP postulates, have been supplemented in a number of alternative ways. Most suggestions have resulted in a form of ‘reductionism’ that identifies belief states with orderings of worlds. However, this position has recently been criticised as being unacceptably strong. Other proposals, such as the popular principle (P), aka ‘Independence’, characteristic of ‘admissible’ operators, remain commendably more modest. In this (...) paper, we supplement the DP postulates and (P) with a number of novel conditions. While the DP postulates constrain the relation between a prior and a posterior conditional belief set, our new principles notably govern the relation between two posterior conditional belief sets obtained from a common prior by different revisions. We show that operators from the resulting family, which subsumes both lexicographic and restrained revision, can be represented as relating belief states associated with a ‘proper ordinal interval’ (POI) assignment, a structure more fine-grained than a simple ordering of worlds. We close the paper by noting that these operators satisfy iterated versions of many AGM era postulates, including Superexpansion, that are not sound for admissible operators in general. (shrink)
A god is a cosmic designer-creator. Atheism says the number of gods is 0. But it is hard to defeat the minimal thesis that some possible universe is actualized by some possible god. Monotheists say the number of gods is 1. Yet no degree of perfection can be coherently assigned to any unique god. Lewis says the number of gods is at least the second beth number. Yet polytheists cannot defend an arbitrary plural number of gods. An alternative is that, (...) for every ordinal, there is a god whose perfection is proportional to it. The n -th god actualizes the best universe(s) in the n -th level of an axiological hierarchy of possible universes. Despite its unorthodoxy, ordinal polytheism has many metaphysically attractive features and merits more serious study. (shrink)
The main objective of this PhD Thesis is to present a method of obtaining strong normalization via natural ordinal, which is applicable to natural deduction systems and typed lambda calculus. The method includes (a) the definition of a numerical assignment that associates each derivation (or lambda term) to a natural number and (b) the proof that this assignment decreases with reductions of maximal formulas (or redex). Besides, because the numerical assignment used coincide with the length of a specific sequence (...) of reduction - the worst reduction sequence - it is the lowest upper bound on the length of reduction sequences. The main commitment of the introduced method is that it is constructive and elementary, produced only through analyzing structural and combinatorial properties of derivations and lambda terms, without appeal to any sophisticated mathematical tool. Together with the exposition of the method, it is presented a comparative study of some articles in the literature that also get strong normalization by means we can identify with the natural ordinal methods. Among them we highlight Howard[1968], which performs an ordinal analysis of Godel’s Dialectica interpretation for intuitionistic first order arithmetic. We reveal a fact about this article not noted by the author himself: a syntactic proof of strong normalization theorem for the system of typified lambda calculus λ⊃ is a consequence of its results. This would be the first strong normalization proof in the literature. (written in Portuguese). (shrink)
We define a notion of the intelligence level of an idealized mechanical knowing agent. This is motivated by efforts within artificial intelligence research to define real-number intelligence levels of compli- cated intelligent systems. Our agents are more idealized, which allows us to define a much simpler measure of intelligence level for them. In short, we define the intelligence level of a mechanical knowing agent to be the supremum of the computable ordinals that have codes the agent knows to be codes (...) of computable ordinals. We prove that if one agent knows certain things about another agent, then the former necessarily has a higher intelligence level than the latter. This allows our intelligence no- tion to serve as a stepping stone to obtain results which, by themselves, are not stated in terms of our intelligence notion (results of potential in- terest even to readers totally skeptical that our notion correctly captures intelligence). As an application, we argue that these results comprise evidence against the possibility of intelligence explosion (that is, the no- tion that sufficiently intelligent machines will eventually be capable of designing even more intelligent machines, which can then design even more intelligent machines, and so on). (shrink)
This paper suggests that time could have a much richer mathematical structure than that of the real numbers. Clark & Read (1984) argue that a hypertask (uncountably many tasks done in a finite length of time) cannot be performed. Assuming that time takes values in the real numbers, we give a trivial proof of this. If we instead take the surreal numbers as a model of time, then not only are hypertasks possible but so is an ultratask (...) (a sequence which includes one task done for each ordinal number—thus a proper class of them). We argue that the surreal numbers are in some respects a better model of the temporal continuum than the real numbers as defined in mainstream mathematics, and that surreal time and hypertasks are mathematically possible. (shrink)
The paper considers the symmetries of a bit of information corresponding to one, two or three qubits of quantum information and identifiable as the three basic symmetries of the Standard model, U(1), SU(2), and SU(3) accordingly. They refer to “empty qubits” (or the free variable of quantum information), i.e. those in which no point is chosen (recorded). The choice of a certain point violates those symmetries. It can be represented furthermore as the choice of a privileged reference frame (e.g. that (...) of the Big Bang), which can be described exhaustively by means of 16 numbers (4 for position, 4 for velocity, and 8 for acceleration) independently of time, but in space-time continuum, and still one, 17th number is necessary for the mass of rest of the observer in it. The same 17 numbers describing exhaustively a privileged reference frame thus granted to be “zero”, respectively a certain violation of all the three symmetries of the Standard model or the “record” in a qubit in general, can be represented as 17 elementary wave functions (or classes of wave functions) after the bijection of natural and transfinite natural (ordinal) numbers in Hilbert arithmetic and further identified as those corresponding to the 17 elementary of particles of the Standard model. Two generalizations of the relevant concepts of general relativity are introduced: (1) “discrete reference frame” to the class of all arbitrarily accelerated reference frame constituting a smooth manifold; (2) a still more general principle of relativity to the general principle of relativity, and meaning the conservation of quantum information as to all discrete reference frames as to the smooth manifold of all reference frames of general relativity. Then, the bijective transition from an accelerated reference frame to the 17 elementary wave functions of the Standard model can be interpreted by the still more general principle of relativity as the equivalent redescription of a privileged reference frame: smooth into a discrete one. The conservation of quantum information related to the generalization of the concept of reference frame can be interpreted as restoring the concept of the ether, an absolutely immovable medium and reference frame in Newtonian mechanics, to which the relative motion can be interpreted as an absolute one, or logically: the relations, as properties. The new ether is to consist of qubits (or quantum information). One can track the conceptual pathway of the “ether” from Newtonian mechanics via special relativity, via general relativity, via quantum mechanics to the theory of quantum information (or “quantum mechanics and information”). The identification of entanglement and gravity can be considered also as a ‘byproduct” implied by the transition from the smooth “ether of special and general relativity’ to the “flat” ether of quantum mechanics and information. The qubit ether is out of the “temporal screen” in general and is depicted on it as both matter and energy, both dark and visible. (shrink)
Ordinal polytheism is motivated by the cosmological and design arguments. It is also motivated by Leibnizian–Lewisian modal realism. Just as there are many universes, so there are many gods. Gods are necessary concrete grounds of universes. The god-universe relation is one-to-one. Ordinal polytheism argues for a hierarchy of ranks of ever more perfect gods, one rank for every ordinal number. Since there are no maximally perfect gods, ordinal polytheism avoids many of the familiar problems of monotheism. (...) It links theology with counterpart theory, mathematics and computer science. And it entails that the system of universes has an attractive axiological structure. (shrink)
The explicit history of the “hidden variables” problem is well-known and established. The main events of its chronology are traced. An implicit context of that history is suggested. It links the problem with the “conservation of energy conservation” in quantum mechanics. Bohr, Kramers, and Slaters (1924) admitted its violation being due to the “fourth Heisenberg uncertainty”, that of energy in relation to time. Wolfgang Pauli rejected the conjecture and even forecast the existence of a new and unknown then elementary particle, (...) neutrino, on the ground of energy conservation in quantum mechanics, afterwards confirmed experimentally. Bohr recognized his defeat and Pauli’s truth: the paradigm of elementary particles (furthermore underlying the Standard model) dominates nowadays. However, the reason of energy conservation in quantum mechanics is quite different from that in classical mechanics (the Lie group of all translations in time). Even more, if the reason was the latter, Bohr, Cramers, and Slatters’s argument would be valid. The link between the “conservation of energy conservation” and the problem of hidden variables is the following: the former is equivalent to their absence. The same can be verified historically by the unification of Heisenberg’s matrix mechanics and Schrödinger’s wave mechanics in the contemporary quantum mechanics by means of the separable complex Hilbert space. The Heisenberg version relies on the vector interpretation of Hilbert space, and the Schrödinger one, on the wave-function interpretation. However the both are equivalent to each other only under the additional condition that a certain well-ordering is equivalent to the corresponding ordinal number (as in Neumann’s definition of “ordinal number”). The same condition interpreted in the proper terms of quantum mechanics means its “unitarity”, therefore the “conservation of energy conservation”. In other words, the “conservation of energy conservation” is postulated in the foundations of quantum mechanics by means of the concept of the separable complex Hilbert space, which furthermore is equivalent to postulating the absence of hidden variables in quantum mechanics (directly deducible from the properties of that Hilbert space). Further, the lesson of that unification (of Heisenberg’s approach and Schrödinger’s version) can be directly interpreted in terms of the unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics in the cherished “quantum gravity” as well as a “manual” of how one can do this considering them as isomorphic to each other in a new mathematical structure corresponding to quantum information. Even more, the condition of the unification is analogical to that in the historical precedent of the unifying mathematical structure (namely the separable complex Hilbert space of quantum mechanics) and consists in the class of equivalence of any smooth deformations of the pseudo-Riemannian space of general relativity: each element of that class is a wave function and vice versa as well. Thus, quantum mechanics can be considered as a “thermodynamic version” of general relativity, after which the universe is observed as if “outside” (similarly to a phenomenological thermodynamic system observable only “outside” as a whole). The statistical approach to that “phenomenological thermodynamics” of quantum mechanics implies Gibbs classes of equivalence of all states of the universe, furthermore re-presentable in Boltzmann’s manner implying general relativity properly … The meta-lesson is that the historical lesson can serve for future discoveries. (shrink)
Quantum information is discussed as the universal substance of the world. It is interpreted as that generalization of classical information, which includes both finite and transfinite ordinalnumbers. On the other hand, any wave function and thus any state of any quantum system is just one value of quantum information. Information and its generalization as quantum information are considered as quantities of elementary choices. Their units are correspondingly a bit and a qubit. The course of time is what (...) generates choices by itself, thus quantum information and any item in the world in final analysis. The course of time generates necessarily choices so: The future is absolutely unorderable in principle while the past is always well-ordered and thus unchangeable. The present as the mediation between them needs the well-ordered theorem equivalent to the axiom of choice. The latter guarantees the choice even among the elements of an infinite set, which is the case of quantum information. The concrete and abstract objects share information as their common base, which is quantum as to the formers and classical as to the latters. The general quantities of matter in physics, mass and energy can be considered as particular cases of quantum information. The link between choice and abstraction in set theory allows of “Hume’s principle” to be interpreted in terms of quantum mechanics as equivalence of “many” and “much” underlying quantum information. Quantum information as the universal substance of the world calls for the unity of physics and mathematics rather than that of the concrete and abstract objects and thus for a form of quantum neo-Pythagoreanism in final analysis. (shrink)
A possible world is a junky world if and only if each thing in it is a proper part. The possibility of junky worlds contradicts the principle of general fusion. Bohn (2009) argues for the possibility of junky worlds, Watson (2010) suggests that Bohn‘s arguments are flawed. This paper shows that the arguments of both authors leave much to be desired. First, relying on the classical results of Cantor, Zermelo, Fraenkel, and von Neumann, this paper proves the possibility of junky (...) worlds for certain weak set theories. Second, the paradox of Burali-Forti shows that according to the Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory ZF, junky worlds are possible. Finally, it is shown that set theories are not the only sources for designing plausible models of junky worlds: Topology (and possibly other "algebraic" mathematical theories) may be used to construct models of junky worlds. In sum, junkyness is a relatively widespread feature among possible worlds. (shrink)
Quantum information is discussed as the universal substance of the world. It is interpreted as that generalization of classical information, which includes both finite and transfinite ordinalnumbers. On the other hand, any wave function and thus any state of any quantum system is just one value of quantum information. Information and its generalization as quantum information are considered as quantities of elementary choices. Their units are correspondingly a bit and a qubit. The course of time is what (...) generates choices by itself, thus quantum information and any item in the world in final analysis. The course of time generates necessarily choices so: The future is absolutely unorderable in principle while the past is always well-ordered and thus unchangeable. The present as the mediation between them needs the well-ordered theorem equivalent to the axiom of choice. The latter guarantees the choice even among the elements of an infinite set, which is the case of quantum information. The concrete and abstract objects share information as their common base, which is quantum as to the formers and classical as to the latter. The general quantities of matter in physics, mass and energy can be considered as particular cases of quantum information. The link between choice and abstraction in set theory allows of “Hume’s principle” to be interpreted in terms of quantum mechanics as equivalence of “many” and “much” underlying quantum information. Quantum information as the universal substance of the world calls for the unity of physics and mathematics rather than that of the concrete and abstract objects and thus for a form of quantum neo-Pythagoreanism in final analysis. (shrink)
The quantum information introduced by quantum mechanics is equivalent to a certain generalization of classical information: from finite to infinite series or collections. The quantity of information is the quantity of choices measured in the units of elementary choice. The “qubit”, can be interpreted as that generalization of “bit”, which is a choice among a continuum of alternatives. The axiom of choice is necessary for quantum information. The coherent state is transformed into a well-ordered series of results in time after (...) measurement. The quantity of quantum information is the transfinite ordinal number corresponding to the infinity series in question. The transfinite ordinalnumbers can be defined as ambiguously corresponding “transfinite natural numbers” generalizing the natural numbers of Peano arithmetic to “Hilbert arithmetic” allowing for the unification of the foundations of mathematics and quantum mechanics. (shrink)
A number of Christian theologians and philosophers have been critical of overly moralizing approaches to the doctrine of sin, but nearly all Christian thinkers maintain that moral fault is necessary or sufficient for sin to obtain. Call this the “Moral Consensus.” I begin by clarifying the relevance of impurities to the biblical cataloguing of sins. I then present four extensional problems for the Moral Consensus on sin, based on the biblical catalogue of sins: (1) moral over-demandingness, (2) agential unfairness, (3) (...) moral repugnance, and (4) moral atrocity. Next, I survey several partial solutions to these problems, suggested by the recent philosophical literature. Then I evaluate two largely unexplored solutions: (a) genuine sin dilemmas and (b) defeasible sinfulness. I argue that (a) creates more problems than it solves and that, while (b) is well-motivated and solves or eases each of the above problems, (b) leaves many biblical ordinances about sin morally misleading, creating (5) a pedagogical problem of evil. I conclude by arguing that (5) places hefty explanatory burdens on those who would appeal to (b) to resolve the four extensional problems discussed in this paper. So Christian thinkers may need to consider a more radical separation of sin and moral fault. (shrink)
Our visual experience of the world is one of diverse objects and events, each with particular colors, shapes, and motions. This experience is so coherent, so immediate, and so effortless that it seems to result from a single system that lets us experience everything in our field of view. But however appealing, this belief is mistaken: there are severe limits on what can be visually experienced. -/- For example, in a display for air-traffic control it is important to track all (...) moving items. For a single item, this can be done without problem. Three or four can also be tracked, although some degree of effort may be needed. As the number is increased further, accurate tracking becomes more and more difficult—and eventually, impossible. Performance is evidently affected by a factor within the observer which enables certain kinds of perception to occur, but is limited in some way. This factor is generally referred to as attention. -/- At various times, attention has been associated with clarity of perception, intensity of perception, consciousness, selection, or the allocation of a limited “resource” enabling various operations (see Hatfield, 1998). During the past several decades, considerable progress has been achieved by focusing on the idea of selection (Broadbent, 1982). In particular, attention can be productively viewed as contingently selective processing. This can be embodied in various ways by various processes—there need not be a single quantity identified with all forms of attention, or a single site where it operates (Allport, 1993; Tsotsos, 2011). Although “paying attention” is often considered to be a unitary operation, it may simply refer to the control of one or more selective processes, ideally in a co-ordinated way. While this view has some cost in terms of conceptual simplicity, it can help make sense of a large set of phenomena. -/- This article surveys several of the major issues in our understanding of attention and how it relates to perception. It focuses on vision, since many—if not all—considerations are similar for all sensory modalities, and the level of understanding achieved in this domain is currently the most advanced. (shrink)
Cantor’s proof that the powerset of the set of all natural numbers is uncountable yields a version of Richard’s paradox when restricted to the full definable universe, that is, to the universe containing all objects that can be defined not just in one formal language but by means of the full expressive power of natural language: this universe seems to be countable on one account and uncountable on another. We argue that the claim that definitional contexts impose restrictions on (...) the scope of quantifiers reveals a natural way out. (shrink)
It is well known that the following features hold of AR + T under the strong Kleene scheme, regardless of the way the language is Gödel numbered: 1. There exist sentences that are neither paradoxical nor grounded. 2. There are 2ℵ0 fixed points. 3. In the minimal fixed point the weakly definable sets (i.e., sets definable as {n∣ A(n) is true in the minimal fixed point where A(x) is a formula of AR + T) are precisely the Π1 1 sets. (...) 4. In the minimal fixed point the totally defined sets (sets weakly defined by formulae all of whose instances are true or false) are precisely the ▵1 1 sets. 5. The closure ordinal for Kripke's construction of the minimal fixed point is ωCK 1. In contrast, we show that under the weak Kleene scheme, depending on the way the Gödel numbering is chosen: 1. There may or may not exist nonparadoxical, ungrounded sentences. 2. The number of fixed points may be any positive finite number, ℵ0, or 2ℵ0 . 3. In the minimal fixed point, the sets that are weakly definable may range from a subclass of the sets 1-1 reducible to the truth set of AR to the Π1 1 sets, including intermediate cases. 4. Similarly, the totally definable sets in the minimal fixed point range from precisely the arithmetical sets up to precisely the ▵1 1 sets. 5. The closure ordinal for the construction of the minimal fixed point may be ω, ωCK 1, or any successor limit ordinal in between. In addition we suggest how one may supplement AR + T with a function symbol interpreted by a certain primitive recursive function so that, irrespective of the choice of the Godel numbering, the resulting language based on the weak Kleene scheme has the five features noted above for the strong Kleene language. (shrink)
Reinhardt’s conjecture, a formalization of the statement that a truthful knowing machine can know its own truthfulness and mechanicalness, was proved by Carlson using sophisticated structural results about the ordinals and transfinite induction just beyond the first epsilon number. We prove a weaker version of the conjecture, by elementary methods and transfinite induction up to a smaller ordinal.
The quantum information introduced by quantum mechanics is equivalent to that generalization of the classical information from finite to infinite series or collections. The quantity of information is the quantity of choices measured in the units of elementary choice. The qubit can be interpreted as that generalization of bit, which is a choice among a continuum of alternatives. The axiom of choice is necessary for quantum information. The coherent state is transformed into a well-ordered series of results in time after (...) measurement. The quantity of quantum information is the ordinal corresponding to the infinity series in question. Number and being (by the meditation of time), the natural and artificial turn out to be not more than different hypostases of a single common essence. This implies some kind of neo-Pythagorean ontology making related mathematics, physics, and technics immediately, by an explicit mathematical structure. (shrink)
Georg Cantor was the genuine discoverer of the Mathematical Infinity, and whatever he claimed, suggested, or even surmised should be taken seriously -- albeit not necessary at its face value. Because alongside his exquisite in beauty ordinal construction and his fundamental powerset description of the continuum, Cantor has also left to us his obsessive presumption that the universe of sets should be subjected to laws similar to those governing the set of natural numbers, including the universal principles of (...) cardinal comparability and well-ordering -- and implying an ordinal re-creation of the continuum. During the last hundred years, the mainstream set-theoretical research -- all insights and adjustments due to Kurt G\"odel's revolutionary insights and discoveries notwithstanding -- has compliantly centered its efforts on ad hoc axiomatizations of Cantor's intuitive transfinite design. We demonstrate here that the ontological and epistemic sustainability} of this design has been irremediably compromised by the underlying peremptory, Reductionist mindset of the XIXth century's ideology of science. (shrink)
The recent distribution of nude photos of a number of high profile Hong Kong celebrities has provoked intense discussion about the state of Hong Kong's obscenity and indecency laws. In this paper, I argue that Hong Kong's laws prohibiting the transfer of obscene and indecent information and images between consenting adults are both under-inclusive and over-inclusive. The Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance is under-inclusive in that it does not adequately criminalise grave violations of privacy. It is also over-inclusive (...) because it is a blanket prohibition against the transfer by all parties (including consenting adults) of all forms of obscene and indecent materials. The laws unnecessarily violate the free expression rights of both the producer and consenting viewer of the offensive materials. The producer/publisher of such materials does not harm his or her audience as they willingly view such materials. The justification for maintaining a blanket prohibition against all transfers of such materials is invalid and utterly and totally out of touch with modern life in Hong Kong. The proponents of such laws have used Victorian positive morality considerations to justify continued criminalisation. These laws should be abrogated and replaced with a new piece of legislation that is narrowly tailored to deal with those types of offensive displays that are wrongful in a critical rather than a mere positive morality sense. Criminalisation should be limited to those offences that target children or use children in the production process, violate the rights of non-consenting adult audiences not to receive certain intimate information in certain public contexts, and violate privacy rights by publishing a person's private and intimate information without consent. If x obtains y's profoundly private information and publishes it without y's consent, then x violates y's privacy rights in a grave way. The violation in the right circumstances will justify a criminal law response rather than a mere civil law response. Similarly, if x and y copulate on a public bus they subject the captive audience to an offensive display which violates the non-consenting audience's right not to receive certain intimate information. I argue below that these types of privacy violations give the lawmaker a legitimate justification for invoking the criminal law. (shrink)
On a now orthodox view, humans and many other animals possess a “number sense,” or approximate number system, that represents number. Recently, this orthodox view has been subject to numerous critiques that question whether the ANS genuinely represents number. We distinguish three lines of critique – the arguments from congruency, confounds, and imprecision – and show that none succeed. We then provide positive reasons to think that the ANS genuinely represents numbers, and not just non-numerical confounds or exotic substitutes (...) for number, such as “numerosities” or “quanticals,” as critics propose. In so doing, we raise a neglected question: numbers of what kind? Proponents of the orthodox view have been remarkably coy on this issue. But this is unsatisfactory since the predictions of the orthodox view, including the situations in which the ANS is expected to succeed or fail, turn on the kind of number being represented. In response, we propose that the ANS represents not only natural numbers, but also non-natural rational numbers. It does not represent irrational numbers, however, and thereby fails to represent the real numbers more generally. This distances our proposal from existing conjectures, refines our understanding of the ANS, and paves the way for future research. (shrink)
This paper criticizes the view that number words in argument position retain the meaning they have on an adjectival or determiner use, as argued by Hofweber :179–225, 2005) and Moltmann :499–534, 2013a, 2013b). In particular the paper re-evaluates syntactic evidence from German given in Moltmann to that effect.
According to a tradition stemming from Quine and Putnam, we have the same broadly inductive reason for believing in numbers as we have for believing in electrons: certain theories that entail that there are numbers are better, qua explanations of our evidence, than any theories that do not. This paper investigates how modal theories of the form ‘Possibly, the concrete world is just as it in fact is and T’ and ‘Necessarily, if standard mathematics is true and the (...) concrete world is just as it in fact is, then T’ bear on this claim. It concludes that, while analogies with theories that attempt to eliminate unobservable concrete entities provide good reason to regard theories of the former sort as explanatorily bad, this reason does not apply to theories of the latter sort. (shrink)
With the aid of some results from current linguistic theory I examine a recent anti-Fregean line with respect to hybrid talk of numbers and ordinary things, such as ‘the number of moons of Jupiter is four’. I conclude that the anti-Fregean line with respect to these sentences is indefensible.
The question whether numbers are objects is a central question in the philosophy of mathematics. Frege made use of a syntactic criterion for objethood: numbers are objects because there are singular terms that stand for them, and not just singular terms in some formal language, but in natural language in particular. In particular, Frege (1884) thought that both noun phrases like the number of planets and simple numerals like eight as in (1) are singular terms referring to (...) class='Hi'>numbers as abstract objects. (shrink)
A common view is that natural language treats numbers as abstract objects, with expressions like the number of planets, eight, as well as the number eight acting as referential terms referring to numbers. In this paper I will argue that this view about reference to numbers in natural language is fundamentally mistaken. A more thorough look at natural language reveals a very different view of the ontological status of natural numbers. On this view, numbers are (...) not primarily treated abstract objects, but rather 'aspects' of pluralities of ordinary objects, namely number tropes, a view that in fact appears to have been the Aristotelian view of numbers. Natural language moreover provides support for another view of the ontological status of numbers, on which natural numbers do not act as entities, but rather have the status of plural properties, the meaning of numerals when acting like adjectives. This view matches contemporary approaches in the philosophy of mathematics of what Dummett called the Adjectival Strategy, the view on which number terms in arithmetical sentences are not terms referring to numbers, but rather make contributions to generalizations about ordinary (and possible) objects. It is only with complex expressions somewhat at the periphery of language such as the number eight that reference to pure numbers is permitted. (shrink)
One of the most important abilities we have as humans is the ability to think about number. In this chapter, we examine the question of whether there is an essential connection between language and number. We provide a careful examination of two prominent theories according to which concepts of the positive integers are dependent on language. The first of these claims that language creates the positive integers on the basis of an innate capacity to represent real numbers. The second (...) claims that language’s function is to integrate contents from modules that humans share with other animals. We argue that neither model is successful. (shrink)
David Hilbert's finitistic standpoint is a conception of elementary number theory designed to answer the intuitionist doubts regarding the security and certainty of mathematics. Hilbert was unfortunately not exact in delineating what that viewpoint was, and Hilbert himself changed his usage of the term through the 1920s and 30s. The purpose of this paper is to outline what the main problems are in understanding Hilbert and Bernays on this issue, based on some publications by them which have so far received (...) little attention, and on a number of philosophical reconstructions of the viewpoint (in particular, by Hand, Kitcher, and Tait). (shrink)
Do scientific theories limit human knowledge? In other words, are there physical variables hidden by essence forever? We argue for negative answers and illustrate our point on chaotic classical dynamical systems. We emphasize parallels with quantum theory and conclude that the common real numbers are, de facto, the hidden variables of classical physics. Consequently, real numbers should not be considered as ``physically real" and classical mechanics, like quantum physics, is indeterministic.
I begin with a personal confession. Philosophical discussions of existence have always bored me. When they occur, my eyes glaze over and my attention falters. Basically ontological questions often seem best decided by banging on the table--rocks exist, fairies do not. Argument can appear long-winded and miss the point. Sometimes a quick distinction resolves any apparent difficulty. Does a falling tree in an earless forest make noise, ie does the noise exist? Well, if noise means that an ear must be (...) there to hear it, then the answer to the question is evidently "no." But if noise means that, if there were (counterfactually) someone there, then he would hear it, then just as obviously, the answer becomes "yes.". (shrink)
ABSTRACT (ENG) One of the concerns of Greek philosophy centred on the question of how a manifold and ordered universe arose out of the primitive state of things. From the mythical accounts dating around the seventh century B.C. to the cosmologies of the Classical period in Ancient Greece, many theories have been proposed in order to answer to this question. How these theories differ in positing a “something” that pre-existed the ordered cosmos has been widely discussed. However, scholars have rarely (...) made explicit how they differ in style of thought. In the span of four centuries the first deductive arguments of the Eleatic philosophers culminated in the emergence of logical proof and a form of explanation of natural phenomena, which consisted of searching for the simplest and fewest premises and deducting implications. In this paper it will be discussed how, at distinct stages of its development, the deductive thinking informed the solutions proposed to solve the chaos-order problem, that of how an ordered universe has been possible. -/- ABSTRACT (ITA) Una delle più importanti questioni della filosofia greca è stata quella di comprendere come sia stato possibile un universo ordinato a partire da uno stato primordiale. Dalle teogonie del VII secolo a.C. fino alle cosmologie dei filosofi dell’età classica, sono state proposte diverse teorie per dare risposta a questa domanda. Come esse differiscano nel postulare l’esistenza di un “qualcosa” di primordiale che preesisteva all’ordine del cosmo è stato molto discusso. Pochi studiosi, però, le hanno esaminate sullo sfondo della lenta evoluzione del pensiero deduttivo, culminata nella dimostrazione in geometria e in una forma di spiegazione dei fenomeni che consisteva nel cercare semplici premesse e inferire conclusioni. In questo articolo si mostrerà come il lento affermarsi della spiegazione razionale prima, dell’argomento deduttivo e della dimostrazione in geometria poi, abbiano dato forma alle diverse risposte al problema caos-ordine, e in particolare alla domanda su come sia sorto un universo ordinato. (shrink)
There is a widely held view on measurement inferences, that goes back to Stevens’s ([1946]) theory of measurement scales and ‘permissible statistics’. This view defends the following prohibition: you should not make inferences from averages taken with ordinal scales (versus quantitative scales: interval or ratio). This prohibition is general—it applies to all ordinal scales—and it is sometimes endorsed without qualification. Adhering to it dramatically limits the research that the social and biomedical sciences can conduct. I provide a Bayesian (...) analysis of this inferential problem, determining when measurements from ordinal scales can be used to confirm hypotheses about relative group averages. The prohibition, I conclude, cannot be upheld, even in a qualified sense. The beliefs needed to make average comparisons are less demanding than those appropriate for quantitative scales. I illustrate with the alleged paradigm ordinal scale, Mohs’ scale of mineral hardness, arguing that the literature has mischaracterized it. (shrink)
Is the way we use propositions to individuate beliefs and other intentional states analogous to the way we use numbers to measure weights and other physical magnitudes? In an earlier paper [2], I argued that there is an important disanalogy. One and the same weight can be 'related to' different numbers under different units of measurement. Moreover, the choice of a unit of measurement is arbitrary,in the sense that which way we choose doesn't affect the weight attributed to (...) the object. But it makes little sense to say that one and the same belief can be related to different propositions: different proposition means different belief. So there is no analogous arbitrary choice. (shrink)
The low representation (< 30%) of women in philosophy in English-speaking countries has generated much discussion, both in academic circles and the public sphere. It is sometimes suggested (Haslanger 2009) that unconscious biases, acting at every level in the field, may be grounded in gendered schemas of philosophers and in the discipline more widely, and that actions to make philosophy a more welcoming place for women should address such schemas. However, existing data are too limited to fully warrant such an (...) explanation, which therefore will not satisfy those in favor of the status quo or those who argue against the need to address gender imbalance. In this paper, we propose measures to improve the profession that ought to be implemented without referring explicitly to this underrepresentation or to the climate for women and other underrepresented groups. Such recommendations are based on empirical research already carried out in other disciplines and do not rest on whether it is possible to identify the cause of this low representation. We argue that we need not wait for new or better data to ensure that fairer practices are enacted for women, other underrepresented groups, and everybody else, if only out of precaution. (shrink)
Visual imagery is a form of sensory imagination, involving subjective experiences typically described as similar to perception, but which occur in the absence of corresponding external stimuli. We used the Activation Likelihood Estimation algorithm (ALE) to identify regions consistently activated by visual imagery across 40 neuroimaging studies, the first such meta-analysis. We also employed a recently developed multi-modal parcellation of the human brain to attribute stereotactic co-ordinates to one of 180 anatomical regions, the first time this approach has been combined (...) with the ALE algorithm. We identified a total 634 foci, based on measurements from 464 participants. Our overall comparison identified activation in the superior parietal lobule, particularly in the left hemisphere, consistent with the proposed ‘top-down’ role for this brain region in imagery. Inferior premotor areas and the inferior frontal sulcus were reliably activated, a finding consistent with the prominent semantic demands made by many visual imagery tasks. We observed bilateral activation in several areas associated with the integration of eye movements and visual information, including the supplementary and cingulate eye fields (SCEFs) and the frontal eye fields (FEFs), suggesting that enactive processes are important in visual imagery. V1 was typically activated during visual imagery, even when participants have their eyes closed, consistent with influential depictive theories of visual imagery. Temporal lobe activation was restricted to area PH and regions of the fusiform gyrus, adjacent to the fusiform face complex (FFC). These results provide a secure foundation for future work to characterise in greater detail the functional contributions of specific areas to visual imagery. (shrink)
You ought to save a larger group of people rather than a distinct smaller group of people, all else equal. A consequentialist may say that you ought to do so because this produces the most good. If a non-consequentialist rejects this explanation, what alternative can he or she give? This essay defends the following explanation, as a solution to the so-called numbers problem. Its two parts can be roughly summarised as follows. First, you are morally required to want the (...) survival of each stranger for its own sake. Secondly, you are rationally required to achieve as many of these ends as possible, if you have these ends. (shrink)
Georg Cantor's absolute infinity, the paradoxical Burali-Forti class Ω of all ordinals, is a monstrous non-entity for which being called a "class" is an undeserved dignity. This must be the ultimate vexation for mathematical philosophers who hold on to some residual sense of realism in set theory. By careful use of Ω, we can rescue Georg Cantor's 1899 "proof" sketch of the Well-Ordering Theorem––being generous, considering his declining health. We take the contrapositive of Cantor's suggestion and add Zermelo's choice function. (...) This results in a concise and uncomplicated proof of the Well-Ordering Theorem. (shrink)
John Taurek has argued that, where choices must be made between alternatives that affect different numbers of people, the numbers are not, by themselves, morally relevant. This is because we "must" take "losses-to" the persons into account (and these don't sum), but "must not" consider "losses-of" persons (because we must not treat persons like objects). I argue that the numbers are always ethically relevant, and that they may sometimes be the decisive consideration.
This chapter presents arguments for two slightly different versions of the thesis that the value of persons is incomparable. Both arguments allege an incompatibility between the demands of a certain kind of practical reasoning and the presuppositions of value comparisons. The significance of these claims is assessed in the context of the “Numbers problem”—the question of whether one morally ought to benefit one group of potential aid recipients rather than another simply because they are greater in number. It is (...) argued that many of the popular approaches to this problem—even ones that avoid the aggregation of personal value—are imperiled by the incomparability theses. -/- . (shrink)
I argue that the human mind includes an innate domain-specific system for representing precise small numerical quantities. This theory contrasts with object-tracking theories and with domain-general theories that only make use of mental models. I argue that there is a good amount of evidence for innate representations of small numerical quantities and that such a domain-specific system has explanatory advantages when infants’ poor working memory is taken into account. I also show that the mental models approach requires previously unnoticed domain-specific (...) structure and consequently that there is no domain-general alternative to an innate domain-specific small number system. (shrink)
Numbers are concepts whose content, structure, and organization are influenced by the material forms used to represent and manipulate them. Indeed, as argued here, it is the inclusion of multiple forms (distributed objects, fingers, single- and two-dimensional forms like pebbles and abaci, and written notations) that is the mechanism of numerical elaboration. Further, variety in employed forms explains at least part of the synchronic and diachronic variability that exists between and within cultural number systems. Material forms also impart characteristics (...) like linearity that may persist in the form of knowledge and behaviors, ultimately yielding numerical concepts that are irreducible to and functionally independent of any particular form. Material devices used to represent and manipulate numbers also interact with language in ways that reinforce or contrast different aspects of numerical cognition. Not only does this interaction potentially explain some of the unique aspects of numerical language, it suggests that the two are complementary but ultimately distinct means of accessing numerical intuitions and insights. The potential inclusion of materiality in contemporary research in numerical cognition is advocated, both for its explanatory power, as well as its influence on psychological, behavioral, and linguistic aspects of numerical cognition. (shrink)
In this paper, I suggest that infinite numbers are large finite numbers, and that infinite numbers, properly understood, are 1) of the structure omega + (omega* + omega)Ө + omega*, and 2) the part is smaller than the whole. I present an explanation of these claims in terms of epistemic limitations. I then consider the importance, part of which is demonstrating the contradiction that lies at the heart of Cantorian set theory: the natural numbers are too (...) large to be counted by any finite number, but too small to be counted by any infinite number – there is no number of natural numbers. (shrink)
Is there some large number of very mild hangnail pains, each experienced by a separate person, which would be worse than two years of excruciating torture, experienced by a single person? Many people have the intuition that the answer to this question is No. However, a host of philosophers have argued that, because we have no intuitive grasp of very large numbers, we should not trust such intuitions. I argue that there is decent intuitive support for the No answer, (...) which does not depend on our intuitively grasping or imagining very large numbers. (shrink)
Philosophers of science are increasingly arguing for the importance of doing scientifically- and socially-engaged work, suggesting that we need to reduce barriers to extra-disciplinary engagement and broaden our impact. Yet, we currently lack empirical data to inform these discussions, leaving a number of important questions unanswered. How common is it for philosophers of science to engage other communities, and in what ways are they engaging? What barriers are most prevalent when it comes to broadly disseminating one’s work or collaborating with (...) others? To what extent do philosophers of science actually value an engaged approach? Our project addresses this gap in our collective knowledge by providing empirical data regarding the state of philosophy of science today. We report the results of a survey of 299 philosophers of science about their attitudes towards and experiences with engaging those outside the discipline. Our data suggest that a significant majority of philosophers of science think it is important for non-philosophers to read and make use of their work; most are engaging with communities outside the discipline; and many think philosophy of science, as a discipline, has an obligation to ensure it has a broader impact. Interestingly, however, many of these same philosophers believe engaged work is generally undervalued in the discipline. We think these findings call for cautious optimism on the part of those who value engaged work—while there seems to be more interest in engaging other communities than many assume, significant barriers still remain. (shrink)
The mapping of numbers onto space is fundamental to measurement and to mathematics. Is this mapping a cultural invention or a universal intuition shared by all humans regardless of culture and education? We probed number-space mappings in the Mundurucu, an Amazonian indigene group with a reduced numerical lexicon and little or no formal education. At all ages, the Mundurucu mapped symbolic and nonsymbolic numbers onto a logarithmic scale, whereas Western adults used linear mapping with small or symbolic (...) class='Hi'>numbers and logarithmic mapping when numbers were presented nonsymbolically under conditions that discouraged counting. This indicates that the mapping of numbers onto space is a universal intuition and that this initial intuition of number is logarithmic. The concept of a linear number line appears to be a cultural invention that fails to develop in the absence of formal education. (shrink)
Since independence, at least 28 African countries have legalized some form of gambling. Yet a range of informal gambling activities have also flourished, often provoking widespread public concern about the negative social and economic impact of unregulated gambling on poor communities. This article addresses an illegal South African numbers game called fahfee. Drawing on interviews with players, operators, and regulatory officials, this article explores two aspects of this game. First, it explores the lives of both players and runners, as (...) well as the clandestine world of the Chinese operators who control the game. Second, the article examines the subjective motivations and aspirations of players, and asks why they continue to play, despite the fact that their aggregate losses easily outstrip their aggregate gains. In contrast with those who reduce its appeal simply to the pursuit of wealth, I conclude that, for the (mostly) black, elderly, working class women who play fahfee several times a week, the associated trade-off—regular, small losses, versus the social enjoyment of playing and the prospect of occasional but realistic windfalls—takes on a whole new meaning, and preferences for relatively lumpy rather than steady consumption streams help explain the continued attraction of fahfee. This reinforces the need to understand players’ own accounts of gambling utility rather than simply to moralistically condemn gambling or to dismiss gamblers behaviour as irrational. (shrink)
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