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17807 | To study formal systems, look at the whole thing, and not just how it is constructed in steps |
Full Idea: In the study of formal systems we do not confine ourselves to the derivation of elementary propositions step by step. Rather we take the system, defined by its primitive frame, as datum, and then study it by any means at our command. | |||
From: Haskell B. Curry (Remarks on the definition and nature of mathematics [1954], 'The formalist') | |||
A reaction: This is what may potentially lead to an essentialist view of such things. Focusing on bricks gives formalism, focusing on buildings gives essentialism. |
17806 | It is untenable that mathematics is general physical truths, because it needs infinity |
Full Idea: According to realism, mathematical propositions express the most general properties of our physical environment. This is the primitive view of mathematics, yet on account of the essential role played by infinity in mathematics, it is untenable today. | |||
From: Haskell B. Curry (Remarks on the definition and nature of mathematics [1954], 'The problem') | |||
A reaction: I resist this view, because Curry's view seems to imply a mad metaphysics. Hilbert resisted the role of the infinite in essential mathematics. If the physical world includes its possibilities, that might do the job. Hellman on structuralism? |
17808 | Saying mathematics is logic is merely replacing one undefined term by another |
Full Idea: To say that mathematics is logic is merely to replace one undefined term by another. | |||
From: Haskell B. Curry (Remarks on the definition and nature of mathematics [1954], 'Mathematics') |