Mathematical Physics and Elementary Logic

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:289 - 301 (1990)
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I outline an intrinsic (coordinate-free) formulation of classical particle mechanics, making no use of set theory or second-order logic. Physical quantities are accepted as real, but are constrained only by elementary axioms. This contrasts with the formulations of Field and Burgess, in which space-time regions are accepted as real and are assumed to satisfy second-order comprehension axioms. The present formulation is both logically simpler and physically more realistic. The theory is finitely axiomatizable, elementary, and even quantifier-free, but is provably empirically equivalent to the standard coordinate formulations.



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