Set Theory and Philosophy

© All Rights Reserved

12 views

Set Theory and Philosophy

© All Rights Reserved

- Alain Badiou: It Is Right to Rebel against the Reactionaries
- Foundations of Mathematics - A Neoclassical Approach to Infinity.pdf
- Meillassoux Two Ones
- Untitled
- Mathematical Induction
- Tutorial 1
- Girard. Linear Logic and Parallelism, 1987
- OPT_Matlab
- Topical Test1 Bl f4
- Binary Search Trees
- Philosophy of Math
- sylabus
- G13PJS
- Induction 5
- a6 Solution
- Questions
- LCDF3 Chap 02 P2 New
- Hamacher- To Leave the World to Someone Else
- Dietrich Von Freiburg Treatise on the Intellect and the Intelligible
- Alain Badiou From False Globalisation to the One Communist World

You are on page 1of 3

Jari Palomki

Tampere University of Technology/Pori

Pohjoisranta 11, B.O.Pox 300, FI-28101 Pori, Finland

jari.palomaki@tut.fi

The Burali-Fortis paradox demonstrates that the class of all ordinals is not a set. Cantor, however, had no

concern over the paradox, since his conception of a set as any plurality that can be thought of as unity

did not create any contradiction. It will be argued that the Burali-Fortis paradox is a logical paradox

(para+doxa), which is solvable, whereas, following Saarnio, it is an epistemic antinomy

(anti+nomos) la Kant, which remains unsolvable in principle. Thus, Cantor proposed e.g. in 1899

that the system of all ordinals is an inconsistent, absolutely infinite multiplicity, which is impossible to

think as whole without contradiction.

Cesare Burali-Forti (1861-1931) was the first mathematician, who made public the paradoxes of

transfinite set theory in his paper Una questione sui numeri transfiniti, (1897). He observed that the

entire succession of all ordinal numbers as a well-ordered set has to have a corresponding ordinal

number , which is greater than the totality of all ordinals represented by . Since was supposed to

contain all ordinal numbers, it could not leave out, and consequently < , which is impossible.

Burali-Forti rejected the comparability of ordinal numbers. He suggested that given two ordinal

numbers and , then it is not always true that at least one of the relations < , = , > must

hold. Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), in turn, noted in his Principles of Mathematics, (1903, 323), that

Burali-Fortis suggestion contradicts a theorem, which Georg Cantor (1845-1918) has established in his

article Beitrge zur Begrndung der transfiniten Mengenlehre,1 where Cantor had proved that for any

two well-ordered sets, corresponding ordinals numbers were necessarily and strictly comparable.

Cantor had also proved that given the whole series of ordinal numbers , every segment of was

well-ordered. Russell preferred to interpret Burali-Fortis paradox of the largest ordinal by rejecting the

supposition that the entire set was not well-ordered, although all its segments are well-ordered,

(Russell 1903, 323).

If Russell were correct, then Cantorian set theory would weaken a lot. For example, comparability of

all cardinals and the theorem that every set could be well-ordered were both impossible. One could no

longer assert that every cardinal number was indeed an aleph. However, when producing Principia

Mathematica Russell himself hoped to show by an axiomatic method with increasingly advanced and

complicated details that the major results of Cantorian set theory and especially transfinite numbers

could be established within a consistent framework. The axiomatic approach to set theory was initiated

by Ernst Zermelo (1871-1953). A number of variant systems of axioms have been proposed but that

which has become standard is basically Zermelos original system with modifications introduced by

Abraham Fraenkel (1891-1965) and which is known as Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory.

Uuno Saarnio (1896-1977), in What we know about infinity?, (1969), suggested that the Burali-Fortis

paradox is a logical paradox (para+doxa), which is solvable, whereas it is an epistemic antinomy

(anti+nomos) like Immanuel Kants (1724-1804) first, the cosmological antinomy in Kritik der

reinen Vernunft, (1781/1787, A 426-433/B 454-461), which remains unsolvable in principle by human

intellect. Thus, following Saarnios suggestion, we have to make distinctions between contradiction,

paradox, and antinomy. In contradiction two propositions cannot both be true at the same time, and

neither can they both be false at the same time. In paradox two propositions at first appear to be

contradictory but upon further investigation can be logically or rationally resolved. For example,

according to Saarnio, in logic the Burali-Fortis paradox is solvable by Russells theory of types. In

antinomy two propositions appear to be contradictory and which further investigation cannot rationally

or logically resolve - and yet both are held to be true or both are held to be false. For example in

Kants four antinomies, the first two mathematical antinomies Kant held both to be false, whereas the

third and fourth, the dynamical antinomies he held both to be true.

The reason for interpreting the Burali-Fortis paradox as an epistemic antinomy la Kant is the

following:

According to Kant the understanding can be represented as a faculty for judging, (A 69/B 94). When

we abstract from all content of a judgment in general, and attend only to the mere form of the

understanding it, we find that function of thinking quantity of judgment contains under itself three

moments; universal, particular, and singular, (A 70/B 95). Categories of quantity, in turn, has three

moments; unity, plurality, and totality, (A 80/B 106). Now, the cosmological antinomy follows because

the world is supposed to be given as a bounded whole, a totality, (A 522-527/B 550-555). Similarly, the

Burali-Fortis antinomy follows because all ordinal numbers are supposed to form a bounded whole, a

totality, of which we could then form a set. Totality, following Kantian terminology, is a transcendental

idea, without which we cannot live. It is given to our reason a priori, and by means of it we are able to

form totalities even there, where there isnt one, i.e. an idea, of which no set corresponds.

Cantor, however, had no concern over the paradox, since his conception of a set as any plurality that

can be thought of as unity, defined already as early as in his Grundlagen einer allgemeinen

Mannigfaltikeitslehre, (1883), did not create any contradiction, (see Menzel, 1984). Thus, Cantor, in

(1899), i.e., in his letter to Richard Dedekind (1831-1916), suggested that the system of all order

types2 was an inconsistent, absolutely infinite multiplicity, which is impossible to think as whole

without contradiction. If, on the other hand, the totality of the elements of a multiplicity can be thought

of without contradiction as a bounded whole, i.e. unity, so that they can be gathered together into

one thing, Cantor call it a consistent multiplicity or a set. Accordingly, from Cantors epistemic

criteria for determining whether multiplicities form sets or not, it follows that the Burali-Fortis

paradox is a logical paradox, which is solvable, i.e. there simply isnt the greatest ordinal number,

whereas we have an epistemic antinomy by using the idea of a totality without having the

corresponding set. Thus, Cantor was able to suggest the proposition: Omnia seu finite seu infinita

definita sunt et except Deo ab intellectu determinari possunt. (All things, whether finite or infinite, are

definite and, except for God, can be determined by the intellect).3

An ordinal number was defined by Cantor as the order type of a well-ordered set, (Dauben 1990, 199).

When we are comparing Kant and Cantor, there is some irony, since Cantor didnt like Kant, i.e. that yonder sophistical

Philistine, who was so bad a mathematician as Cantor wrote in his letter to Bertrand Russell (19.9.1911).

3

- Foundations of Mathematics - A Neoclassical Approach to Infinity.pdfUploaded byZoltán Csereháti
- Meillassoux Two OnesUploaded bychreo
- UntitledUploaded byoutdash2
- Girard. Linear Logic and Parallelism, 1987Uploaded byValerio Cruciani
- Mathematical InductionUploaded byArudhra Nerella
- Tutorial 1Uploaded byEdward Cumberlege
- OPT_MatlabUploaded byPraveen Krs
- Topical Test1 Bl f4Uploaded byArthur Isaac
- Binary Search TreesUploaded bya3ito
- Philosophy of MathUploaded byJakaNataphari Aslinya JokoPrihatono
- sylabusUploaded bySamarth Dargan
- G13PJSUploaded byluis
- Induction 5Uploaded byraphaelsantos08
- a6 SolutionUploaded byRicardo Bruno
- QuestionsUploaded byVikram Sharma
- LCDF3 Chap 02 P2 NewUploaded byboymatter

- Alain Badiou: It Is Right to Rebel against the ReactionariesUploaded bynetdogstar6388
- Hamacher- To Leave the World to Someone ElseUploaded byDaniel Red
- Dietrich Von Freiburg Treatise on the Intellect and the IntelligibleUploaded byDaniel Red
- Alain Badiou From False Globalisation to the One Communist WorldUploaded byDaniel Red
- Cesaire - Poetry & KnowledgeUploaded byjonnyblaise
- Foucault Herm Subject 80 Dartmouth UnmarkedUploaded byLuis Leao
- Reiner Schurmann Situating Rene Char Holderlin Heidegger Char and the There IsUploaded byDaniel Red
- From Althusser to Mao. Les Cahiers Marxistes-LéninistesUploaded byDaniel Red
- Benjamin Now. Critical Encounters With the Arcades ProjectUploaded byDaniel Red
- Simons - Theater of Revolution and the Law of Genre. Bertolt Brecht’s Die MaßnahmeUploaded byDaniel Red
- Badiou - Existence and DeathUploaded byDaniel Red
- Ranciere - From Politics to AestheticsUploaded byDaniel Red
- Badiou What is a Philosophical Institution or Address Transmission InscriptionUploaded bygabay123
- Dolar - Touching GroundUploaded byDaniel Red
- In Parmenidem Parvi ComentariiUploaded bysafetyweasel
- Dolar - The Atom and the VoidUploaded byDaniel Red
- TzuChien Tho - The Void Ain't Just What It Used to BeUploaded byDaniel Red
- Althusser - Students ProblemsUploaded byDaniel Red
- Derrida - Otobiographies, Ear of OtherUploaded byDaniel Red
- Jameson - On Negt and KlugeUploaded byDaniel Red
- 4-22-1-PBUploaded byd_albicker
- 11896-Marginal Notes on CommentsUploaded bydieter dieter
- Badiou - Reducing the SophistUploaded byDaniel Red
- Alain Badiou - Qu Est-ce Que La Litterature PenseUploaded byDaniel Red
- Hallward Mystific ParisUploaded byDaniel Red
- Lyotard - Political_writingsUploaded byDaniel Red
- Deleuze-what_is_a_dispositifUploaded byDaniel Red

- TCS Latest Pattern Placement Questions - 28Uploaded byPrachiChoudhary
- ,khihbUploaded byyxcv99
- snmp-pdfUploaded bymgarciam_tm_peru
- FM200 KIDDEUploaded byNguyen Van Tuan
- ESBeamTool Summary Scan PlanUploaded byJosé García
- andreussi2017.pdfUploaded byEder Ruiz Hernandez
- DCL CommandsUploaded bySuganthi Sethouramane
- Factors influencing organizational change efforts.pptxUploaded byYudha Widyantoro
- tutorialUploaded byYou Jinq Lim
- Sales 2016Uploaded byshivaharsh
- Functional SpecificationUploaded byAmulya Ratna
- Harmonic Reactor - Marina JacobiUploaded bymikinote
- Thermodynamic Equations - Wikipedia, The Free EncyclopediaUploaded byZaw Moe Khine
- science paperUploaded byxuancuong
- PC1144Uploaded byJane Testb
- ASAUploaded byVidhu Ranjan Gopal
- 1st-Sem-Q-GroupUploaded byanirudh
- Crankshaft Axial Vibration AnalysisUploaded byanmol6237
- Gender and Translation AccuracyUploaded byankydeswal
- CGE416 Chapter 3 GeophysicsUploaded byNurfatini Che
- Bayes Unit1Uploaded byGianfrancoqf
- ME Computer EngineeringUploaded byVishal Tank
- documents.tips_huawei-3g-directed-retry-decision-drd.pdfUploaded byBegumKarabatak
- Modular Origami Magic Rose Cube Folding Instructions.pdfUploaded byFefer Torres
- Magnetic Effect of Current 1 MMUploaded bymadhavdhruv
- Spekwin32 Manual Grey 3 1Uploaded byvzimak2355
- SD Delivery User ExitsUploaded bypraveen.ktg1
- 146861038-Guides-for-Shoes-Calculation.xlsUploaded byDhimas surya negara
- Excel Lab ExerciseUploaded byShrawan Kumar
- Copernican TheoryUploaded bys99happy