Remarks on the Foundation of Mathematics

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This substantially revised edition of Wittgenstein's Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics contains one section, an essay of fifty pages, not previously published, as well as considerable additions to others sections. In Parts I, II and III, Wittgenstein discusses amongst other things the idea that all strict reasoning, and so all mathematics, are built on the 'fundamental calculus' which is logic. These parts give the most thorough discussion of Russell's logic. He writes on mathematical proof and the question of where the proofs of mathematics get their force and cogency, if they are not reducible to proofs in logic. Thsi leads him to discuss'contradiction in mathematics' and 'consistency proofs'. He works against the view that there is a sharp division between 'grammatical propositions' and 'empirical prepositions'. He asks us at one point to imagine a people who made no distinction between the applied mathematics and pure mathematics, although they counted and calculated. Could we say they had proofs? Here is a feature of his method which becomes more imporatnt; what Wittgenstein calls, at least half seriously, 'the anthropological method in philosophy'. This emerges in Parts V, VI and VIII. In Part VI, published here for the first time, Wittgenstein brings togeher the view that in mathematics proofs ae 'concept forming' and the view that language and logic and mathematics 'presuppose' common ways of acting and of living among the people who give tham and are convinced by them. Part VIII now has a fuller discussion of difficulties in the notion of 'following a rule' in calculation and the notion of logical necessity.

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John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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