Extending the Non-extendible: Shades of Infinity in Large Cardinals and Forcing Theories

Axiomathes 28 (5):565-586 (2018)
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Abstract

This is an article whose intended scope is to deal with the question of infinity in formal mathematics, mainly in the context of the theory of large cardinals as it has developed over time since Cantor’s introduction of the theory of transfinite numbers in the late nineteenth century. A special focus has been given to this theory’s interrelation with the forcing theory, introduced by P. Cohen in his lectures of 1963 and further extended and deepened since then, which leads to a development and further refinement of the theory of large cardinals ultimately touching, especially in view of the discussion in the last section, on the metatheoretical nature of infinity. The whole undertaking, which takes into account major stages of the research in large cardinals theory, tries to present a defensible argumentation against an ontology of infinity actually rooted in the notion of subjectivity within the world. This means that rather than talking of a general ontology of infinity in the ideal platonic or in the aristotelian sense of potentiality, even in the alternative sense of an ontology of the event in A. Badiou’s sense, one can argue from a subjective point of view about the impossibility of defining cardinalities greater than the first uncountable one \ that would correspond to a distinct existence in real world terms or would be supported by a mathematical intuition in terms of reciprocity with experience. The argumentation from the particular standpoint includes also certain comments on the delimitative character of Gödel’s constructive universe L and the influence of the constructive approach in narrowing the breadth of an ‘ontology’ of infinity.

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Stathis Livadas
University of Patras (Alumnus)

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References found in this work

The Higher Infinite.Akihiro Kanamori - 2000 - Studia Logica 65 (3):443-446.
Logic and structure.D. van Dalen - 1980 - New York: Springer Verlag.
Set Theory.Keith J. Devlin - 1981 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 46 (4):876-877.

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