God and the Numbers

Abstract

According to Augustine, abstract objects are ideas in the Mind of God. Because numbers are a type of abstract object, it would follow that numbers are ideas in the Mind of God. Let us call such a view the Augustinian View of Numbers (AVN). In this paper, I present a formal theory for AVN. The theory stems from the symmetry conception of God as it appears in Studtmann (2021). I show that Robinson’s Arithmetic, Q, can be interpreted by the theory in Studtmann’s paper. The interpretation is made possible by identifying the set of natural numbers with God, 0 with Being, and the successor function with the essence function. The resulting theory can then be augmented to include Peano Arithmetic by adding a set-theoretic version of induction and a comprehension schema restricted to arithmetically definable properties. In addition to these formal matters, the paper provides a characterization of the mind of God. According to the characterization, the Being essences that constitute God’s mind act as both numbers and representations – each has all the properties of some number and encodes all the properties of that number’s predecessor. The conception of God that emerges by the end of the discussion is a conception of an infinite, ineffable, axiologically and metaphysically ultimate entity that contains objects that not only serve as numbers but also encode information about each other.

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Paul Studtmann
Davidson College

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