OK, I’m back from Cornwall (and very nice it was too, thanks for asking), and am trying to get the philosophical corner of my mind back into gear. Now, as I mentioned a couple of posts ago, Charles Parsons has published a new collection of some of his essays, Philosophy of Mathematics in the Twentieth Century, which (sensibly or otherwise) I’ve said I’ll review for Mind. So I better make a start on the reading. On the principle that telling people you are going to do something is a good way of keeping yourself up to the mark, I said that as I read through I’ll start posting some comments here. Please do chime with and thoughts and comments of your own.
If you want to be reading along, now I’ve had a first skim through the beginning of the book, here’s the plan for the first few instalments. For my opening effort — which I’ll post at the end of the week — I’ll look at Parsons’s second essay ‘Realism and the Debate on Impredicativity, 1917-1944’ (originally published in the Feferman festschrift edited by Sieg et al.).
Parsons’s first essay, new to the present volume, is on ‘The Kantian Legacy in Twentieth-Century Foundations of Mathematics’, and perhaps the most interesting bit of this not-very-exciting essay is on Bernays, so it seems a good notion to discuss that alongside the third essay ‘Paul Bernays’ Later Philosophy of Mathematics’ (published in Dimitracopoulos et al., eds, Logic Colloquium 2005).
Then for my third instalment I’ll look at Parsons’s next two pieces, a short piece on Gödel from the Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers, and then the substantial piece on Gödel’s essay ‘Russell’s Mathematical Logic’ written as an Introductory Note for Gödel’s Collected Works, Vol. II.
So watch this space!