This is a paper I wrote for my 20th Century Analytic Philosophy about logicism. Specifically I answer the questions: "What is logicism? What ideas did the authors of the Principia mathematica have in common with logicism? How did logicism influence the Vienna Circle? is logicism still a valid metaphysics of mathematics today?"
Feel free to download, but please do not use it to plagiarize. I am not responsible for your actions if you do choose to plagiarize. However if you want to read this or use it as a reference for your own studies feel free to, just give me credit.

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This is a paper I wrote for my 20th Century Analytic Philosophy about logicism. Specifically I answer the questions: "What is logicism? What ideas did the authors of the Principia mathematica have in common with logicism? How did logicism influence the Vienna Circle? is logicism still a valid metaphysics of mathematics today?"
Feel free to download, but please do not use it to plagiarize. I am not responsible for your actions if you do choose to plagiarize. However if you want to read this or use it as a reference for your own studies feel free to, just give me credit.

Attribution Non-Commercial (BY-NC)

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20th Century Analytic Philosophy What is Logicism? Logicism can be defined as, the thesis that mathematics is reducible to logic, hence nothing but a part of logic. (Carnap, pp. 41) Furthermore, the logicist thesis can be split into two distinct parts: 1) The concepts of mathematics can be derived from logical concepts through explicit definitions. 2) The theorems of mathematics can be derived from logical axioms through purely logical deduction. (Carnap, pp. 41) One might reasonably ask what benefits are to be gained by pursuing a logicist agenda. As Gottlob Frege said, Language proves to be deficient, however, when it comes to protecting thought from error. It does not even meet the first requirement which we must place upon it in this respect; namely, being unambiguous. (Frege, pp 84) In ordinary language, the same word can sometimes have more than one meaning, and it is this ambiguity that leads to confusion and imprecision. Consider the sentence Marzipan is almond paste and sugar. with Marzipan is more expensive than licorice. In both of these sentences, the word is is used in an ambiguous fashion; the first sentence uses is to explain what marzipan is constituted of. In the second sentence, is is used to denote a two-place relationship between marzipan and licorice. A purely symbolic and logical language would do away with such ambiguity, as it is the purpose of the symbols and logical operators to make explicit the precise meaning of a statement. Although mathematicians use a great deal of symbolic notation in their proofs, they still rely on ordinary language to communicate their ideas. Thus, it would provide additional clarity to the mathematician if they could somehow translate all of their proofs into purely symbolic terms. Logicism draws its inspiration from an observation made by many mathematicians prior to and including Frege. Namely, Mathematicians in their investigations of the interdependence

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of mathematical concepts had shown that all the concepts of arithmetic are reducible to the natural numbers. (Carnap, pp. 42) This is simple enough to deduce: from an assumption of the existence of naturals one can construct the integers by defining the concept of a negative numbers, and from the integers deduce the rationals by explicitly defining a group operation, etc all the way to the field of complex numbers. Most mathematicians simply assumed the natural numbers to exist, because they are such an intuitive concept that even a child without an education in mathematics makes use of the counting numbers. But the logicists, in their quest for absolute certainty and radical minimalism, decided to question even the seemingly obvious notion of natural numbers. Thus, it was the logicists who were the first to not only ask, Can the set of natural numbers be deduced from an even more simple set of axioms?, but to also attempt proving that the answer is a resounding Yes! It is in this context that logicism has developed as a philosophy of mathematics. Another motivation of the logicist school was to show how logic could be used as the foundation of all the theorems of mathematic, and in this respect function as a unifying thread through which the science of mathematics is woven. This is one of the main goals of the logicist school, and served as the motivation behind the Principia Mathematica, a scholarly collaboration primarily between Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell to derive all of mathematics, both its theorems and the concept of numbers, from a select few axioms of logic. This had been tried many times in the past, most notably by Gottlob Frege in his Grundgesetze and Begriffsschrift. However, the discovery of Russells Paradox contradicted Basic Law V, one of the foundational axioms from which Frege built his language in the Grundgesetze. Even though the paradox served as a fatal blow to Freges particular attempt, Russell was still determined and convinced that it was possible to deduce all of mathematics from logic alone. And thus, he and

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Whitehead set out to write the Principia. By avoiding Freges notion of types, which rely on assuming that a function can use itself as an argument, and instead relying on the idea of a hierarchy of classes, Russell thought he had finally discovered the secrets to unlocking the logical foundations of mathematics while avoiding the use of self-referential formula. However, Although Principia succeeded in providing detailed derivations of many major theorems in set theory, finite and transfinite arithmetic, and elementary measure theory, two axioms in particular were arguably non-logical in character: the axiom of infinity and the axiom of reducibility. (Irvine, Principia Mathematica) Although the Principia was ultimately unsuccessful in carrying out the logicist program, it still had a profound historical impact on the history of analytic philosophy. In particular, the Principia directly influenced the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein, in specific his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. In turn, it was Wittgensteins Tractatus that gave the Vienna Circle their original purpose: to meet together in order to discuss and analyze passages from the Tractatus line by line. And it was from the ideas expressed in the Tractatus that the Vienna Circle developed their philosophy of logical positivism. The logical atomism present in the Tractatus greatly influenced the positivist idea of the Verification Principle. By dividing the world into atomic facts with definitive true-false values, Wittgenstein gave rise to the verificationism of A.J. Ayer, the falsificationism of Karl Popper, and the language-analytic methods of the Vienna Circle and logical positivism. This idea that one could translate the world into purely logical terms draws its inspiration from the Principia and its attempt to translate all of mathematics into purely logical terms. One could go so far as to say that logical positivism is an intellectual cousin to logicism. The Principia sought to formulate

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mathematics in purely symbolic terms, and this reductionist technique of analysis is ever present in the works of logical positivists. Logical positivism was also influenced by logicism in its treatment of mathematics as an analytic statement. For the logical positivists, a large part of their epistemological theory relied on the analytic/synthetic division. According to the logical positivists, all statements fell into the category of analytic or synthetic. An analytic statement is a statement that is true by virtue of its definition, and synthetic statements are defined as all those statements which are not analytic. In other words, the [logical] positivists held logic and mathematics to be a priori and denied that they contained informative truths. (Skorpuski, pp. 52) To the logical positivists, logic was vacuous and tautological. Logic says nothing about the particular content of a statement, as logic is only concerned with the general form. Since logic lacks content, it is impossible to contain any sort of informative truth, according to the positivists. This belief stems from Wittgenstein in the Tractatus, who writes, The propositions of logic are tautologies. | The propositions of logic therefore say nothing. (They are the analytical propositions.) (Wittgenstein, 6.1 & 6.11) Wittgenstein made it clear that logical statements are in this sense devoid of content, but it was the work of logicism to spread the idea that mathematics is nothing more than an extension of logic. Thus, it is appropriate to credit logicists for the Vienna Circle treating not just logical statement, but also mathematical statement, as analytic a priori. Clearly logicism had an impact on the development of logical positivism, which in turn became one of the most influential schools of thought in 20th century philosophy. But the question still remains as to whether logicism is still plausible as a metaphysical theory of mathematics. I believe that although the original aim of logicism is not an attainable goal in the

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wake of Gdels Incompleteness Theorems, logicism could be reformed to become a working foundation with slight modifications to its overall aims. Much research in recent years has revolved around so-called neologicism, which is a philosophical attempt to revive and update the logicist school to be more in line with the developments of formal logic and mathematics. More specifically, neologicism still seeks to maintain the original spirit of logicism by bringing mathematics under the scope of logic, but it must somehow become less restrictive in its claim, lest it fall victim to the same traps Russells and Freges theories fell victim to. In specific, the original goal of logicism can be accomplished by neologicism through one of three methods: 1) Expand the conception of what counts as logic. 2) Allow more resources than logic alone. 3) Reconceive the notion of reducible. (Bernard and Zalta, pp. 6) Although all three reformations of logicism have their merits, I believe that the third approach, to reconceive the notion of reducible, yields the most plausible and ontologically sound results, while still closely maintaining the original spirit of logicism. In particular: Our view is that philosophy itself should not be concerned with mathematical foundations for mathematics. Philosophers should be concerned with metaphysical and epistemological foundations for mathematics, and we therefore plan to offer a notion of reduction that provides answers to the metaphysical question, What is mathematics about?, and to the epistemological question, How do we know its claims are true? Indeed, a unique feature of our program is that it yields no proper mathematics on its own, and so makes no judgments about which parts of mathematics are philosophically justified! Instead, it takes as data any arbitrary mathematical theory that mathematicians may formulate, and provides a more general explanation and analysis of the subject as a whole. This analysis encounters no limits of abstraction. (Bernard and Zalta, pp. 35)

In order to accomplish this bold goal, a sufficiently powerful and expressive logic must be used. Bernard and Zalta opt to use third-order non-modal object theory as their language of choice. The reasoning for choosing 3rd order object theory is because, Whereas this principle* for

= x(A!x & F(xF |= F)), which guarantees that the object of theory is the abstract individual x which encodes all and only the properties that has in . (Bernard and Zalta, pp. 36)

*The principle

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identifying the mathematical objects of the theory employs only second-order object theory, we need third-order object theory to similarly identify the properties and relations of . (Bernard and Zalta, pp. 36) Bernard and Zaltas neologicism has many strengths which other conceptions lack. The first advantage it has is that their theory requires only one abstraction principle for converting all mathematical objects to logical constructs, regardless of their original domains and the particular axiomatization. This makes it minimalistic, uniform and elegant, as opposed to other forms of neologicism which have a separate abstraction principle for each particular axiomatization. It is also worth mentioning that their logic is non-modal. This is a nice property because modal logic is often used by neologicists to skirt around the issue of implicitly assuming some sort of mathematical object by relying on the possibility operator. By stating It is possible that a modal system of logic avoids asserting the existence of abstracta by merely considering the possibility that they exist. Although this technically works to some degree, it isnt a very satisfactory solution because the overall goal of reducing math to logic becomes bogged down in the details of formulating lengthy and complex modal statements. Furthermore, reducing mathematical abstracta to a possibility is still not a satisfactory answer. To many, this comes off as a cheap way of avoiding ontological questions. Thus, it is in this respect that one must give credit to Bernard and Zalta for formulating their neologicism without relying on modal logic; it greatly simplifies things and shows their commitment to genuinely answering philosophical questions. The second advantage is that Bernard and Zaltas neologicism satisfactorily addresses epistemic questions regarding mathematical knowledge. Specifically, their theory answers the concern How do we know the claims of mathematics are true? By using their third-order

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reduction formula, all the theorems and axioms of mathematics can be converted into the language of third-order object theory. Because expressions of formal logic are necessarily analytic, we can thus state with certainty the truth-value of any particular mathematical claim. Finally, Bernard and Zaltas neologicism gives a firm answer to the other genuine philosophical question about mathematics: What is mathematics about? In their own words, Our answer is that mathematics is about abstract objects (indeed, objects that bears some resemblance to the indeterminate elements [Benaceraf 1965] required by structuralist analyses of mathematics) and the properties that they encode. (Bernard and Zalta, 39) This answer is particularly appealing because it is general enough to allow wiggle room for the expert mathematicians to come along and decide precisely what those particular abstract objects are, but still specific and concrete enough as to provide a satisfactory answer to the curious philosopher. In summary, logicism is an extremely important school of thought that had a tremendous influence on 20th century analytic philosophers, in particular the Vienna Circle. The logicist goal of reducing all of mathematics to logic was a broad one that shined great insights on the nature of mathematics, gave rise to the most significant development in logic since Aristotle, and paved the way for the Vienna Circle and the logical positivism that dominated philosophical thought in the 20th century. Of particular influence was the Principia Mathematica, a book published by Russell and Whitehead that attempted to reduce mathematics to a purely logical schemata of the hierarchy of types. Although this particular effort was not successful, it inspired Ludwig Wittgenstein and his logical atomism, which in turn directly influenced the Vienna Circle. Although the attempts of Frege and Russell were too ambitious in their goals (a fact eventually proven by Kurt Gdel), their efforts were not in vain. Their efforts inspired the school of

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neologicism, which is a modern attempt to revive the logicists program of showing mathematics can be reduced to logic. Although neologicists have to tone down their goal in order to be consistent with the discoveries of Gdel and other developments of logic, the spirit of neologicism nonetheless remains loyal to the overall goals of the original logicists, and I am sure that if Frege or Russell were alive today, they would enthusiastically support the neologicist revival of the program those two men cherished so deeply.

[Type text] Works Cited Carnap, Rudolf. "The Logicist Foundations of Mathematics." Philosophy of Mathematics: Selected Readings. 2nd ed. New York City: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Print. Frege, Gottlob. "On the Scientific Justification of a Conceptual Notation." Conceptual Notation & Related Articles. pp 83-89. Irvine, A. D., "Principia Mathematica", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2010/entries/principiamathematica/>. Irvine, A. D., "Russell's Paradox", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2009/entries/russellparadox/>. Linsky, Bernard, and Edward N Zalta. "What is Neologicism?." Bulletin of Symbolic Logic. 12.1 (2006): 6099. Web. 21 Sep. 2011. <http://mally.stanford.edu/Papers/neologicism2.pdf>. Skorpuski, John. "Later Empiricism and Logical Positivism." The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic. 1st Ed. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2007. Print. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. New York City: HarperCollins Publishing, 2009. Print.

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