Logicism

About the same time as Rudolf Carnap (1929), but apparently independently, Fraenkel (1928) used the word: "Without comment he used the name 'logicism' to characterise the Whitehead/Russell position (in the title of the section on p. 244, explanation on p. 263)" (G-G 2002:269). Carnap used a slightly different word 'Logistik'; Behmann complained about its use in Carnap's manuscript so Carnap proposed the word 'Logizismus', but he finally stuck to his word-choice 'Logistik' (G-G 2002:501). Ultimately "the spread was mainly due to Carnap, from 1930 onwards." (G-G 2000:502).

Kleene 1952 states it this way: "Leibniz (1666) first conceived of logic as a science containing the ideas and principles underlying all other sciences. Dedekind (1888) and Frege (1884, 1893, 1903) were engaged in defining mathematical notions in terms of logical ones, and Peano (1889, 1894–1908) in expressing mathematical theorems in a logical symbolism" (p. 43); in the previous paragraph he includes Russell and Whitehead as exemplars of the "logicistic school", the other two "foundational" schools being the intuitionistic and the "formalistic or axiomatic school" (p. 43).

"I first had to ascertain how far one could proceed in arithmetic by means of inferences alone, with the sole support of those laws of thought that transcend all particulars. My initial step was to attempt to reduce the concept of ordering in a sequence to that of logical consequence, so as to proceed from there to the concept of number. To prevent anything intuitive from penetrating here unnoticed I had to bend every effort to keep the chain of inferences free of gaps . . . I found the inadequacy of language to be an obstacle; no matter how unwieldy the expressions I was ready to accept, I was less and less able, as the relations became more and more complex, to attain the precision that my purpose required. This deficiency led me to the idea of the present ideography. Its first purpose, therefore, is to provide us with the most reliable test of the validity of a chain of inferences and to point out every presupposition that tries to sneak in unnoticed" (Frege 1879 in van Heijenoort 1967:5).
In speaking of arithmetic (algebra, analysis) as a part of logic I mean to imply that I consider the number-concept entirely independent of the notions of intuitions of space and time, that I consider it an immediate result from the laws of thought . . . numbers are free creations of the human mind . . . [and] only through the purely logical process of building up the science of numbers . . . are we prepared accurately to investigate our notions of space and time by bringing them into relation with this number-domain created in our mind" (Dedekind 1887 Dover republication 1963 :31).
Questions that pertain to the foundations of mathematics, although treated by many in recent times, still lack a satisfactory solution. The difficulty has its main source in the ambiguity of language. ¶ That is why it is of the utmost importance to examine attentively the very words we use. My goal has been to undertake this examination" (Peano 1889 in van Heijenoort 1967:85).
"THE present work has two main objects. One of these, the proof that all pure mathematics deals exclusively with concepts definable in terms of a very small number of fundamental logical concepts, and that all its propositions are deducible from a very small number of fundamental logical principles" (Preface 1903:vi).
"A few words as to the origin of the present work may serve to show the importance of the questions discussed. About six years ago, I began an investigation into the philosophy of Dynamics. . . . [From two questions — acceleration and absolute motion in a "relational theory of space"] I was led to a re-examination of the principles of Geometry, thence to the philosophy of continuity and infinity, and then, with a view to discovering the meaning of the word any, to Symbolic Logic" (Preface 1903:vi-vii).
Dedekind's "free formations of the human mind" in contrast to the "strictures" of Kronecker
"Kronecker not long ago (Crelle's Journal, Vol. 99, pp. 334-336) has endeavored to impose certain limitations upon the free formation of concepts in mathematics which I do not believe to be justified" (p. 45).

Indeed he awaits Kronecker's "publishing his reasons for the necessity or merely the expediency of these limitations" (p. 45).

Where did Russell derive these epistemic notions? He tells us in the Preface to his 1903 Principles of Mathematics. Note that he asserts that the belief: "Emily is a rabbit" is non-existent, and yet the truth of this non-existent proposition is independent of any knowing mind; if Emily really is a rabbit, the fact of this truth exists whether or not Russell or any other mind is alive or dead, and the relation of Emily to rabbit-hood is "ultimate" :

"On fundamental questions of philosophy, my position, in all its chief features, is derived from Mr G. E. Moore. I have accepted from him the non-existential nature of propositions (except such as happen to assert existence) and their independence of any knowing mind; also the pluralism which regards the world, both that of existents and that of entities, as composed of an infinite number of mutually independent entities, with relations which are ultimate, and not reducible to adjectives of their terms or of the whole which these compose. . . . The doctrines just mentioned are, in my opinion, quite indispensable to any even tolerably satisfactory philosophy of mathematics, as I hope the following pages will show. . . . Formally, my premisses are simply assumed; but the fact that they allow mathematics to be true, which most current philosophies do not, is surely a powerful argument in their favour." (Preface 1903:viii)
"In the case of classes, I must confess, I have failed to perceive any concept fulfilling the conditions requisite for the notion of class. And the contradiction discussed in Chapter x. proves that something is amiss, but what this is I have hitherto failed to discover. (Preface to Russell 1903:vi)"

"Fictionalism" and Russell's no-class theory: Gödel in his 1944 would disagree with the young Russell of 1903 ("[my premisses] allow mathematics to be true") but would probably agree with Russell's statement quoted above ("something is amiss"); Russell's theory had failed to arrive at a satisfactory foundation of mathematics: the result was "essentially negative; i.e. the classes and concepts introduced this way do not have all the properties required for the use of mathematics" (Gödel 1944:132).

How did Russell arrive in this situation? Gödel observes that Russell is a surprising "realist" with a twist: he cites Russell's 1919:169 "Logic is concerned with the real world just as truly as zoology" (Gödel 1944:120). But he observes that "when he started on a concrete problem, the objects to be analyzed (e.g. the classes or propositions) soon for the most part turned into "logical fictions" . . . [meaning] only that we have no direct perception of them." (Gödel 1944:120)

In an observation pertinent to Russell's brand of logicism, Perry remarks that Russell went through three phases of realism: extreme, moderate and constructive (Perry 1997:xxv). In 1903 he was in his extreme phase; by 1905 he would be in his moderate phase. In a few years he would "dispense with physical or material objects as basic bits of the furniture of the world. He would attempt to construct them out of sense-data" in his next book Our knowledge of the External World [1914]" (Perry 1997:xxvi).

"according to which classes or concepts never exist as real objects, and sentences containing these terms are meaningful only as they can be interpreted as . . . a manner of speaking about other things" (p. 125).
An example of a logicist construction of the natural numbers: Russell's construction in the Principia

For Russell, collections (classes) are aggregates of "things" specified by proper names, that come about as the result of propositions (assertions of fact about a thing or things). Russell analysed this general notion. He begins with "terms" in sentences, which he analysed as follows:

Things are indicated by proper names; concepts are indicated by adjectives or verbs

Concept-adjectives are "predicates"; concept-verbs are "relations": "The former kind will often be called predicates or class-concepts; the latter are always or almost always relations." (1903:44)

Classes (aggregates, complexes): "The class, as opposed to the class-concept, is the sum or conjunction of all the terms which have the given predicate" (1903 p. 55). Classes can be specified by extension (listing their members) or by intension, i.e. by a "propositional function" such as "x is a u" or "x is v". But "if we take extension pure, our class is defined by enumeration of its terms, and this method will not allow us to deal, as Symbolic Logic does, with infinite classes. Thus our classes must in general be regarded as objects denoted by concepts, and to this extent the point of view of intension is essential." (1909 p. 66)

Propositional functions: "The characteristic of a class concept, as distinguished from terms in general, is that "x is a u" is a propositional function when, and only when, u is a class-concept." (1903:56)

Extensional versus intensional definition of a class: "71. Class may be defined either extensionally or intensionally. That is to say, we may define the kind of object which is a class, or the kind of concept which denotes a class: this is the precise meaning of the opposition of extension and intension in this connection. But although the general notion can be defined in this two-fold manner, particular classes, except when they happen to be finite, can only be defined intensionally, i.e. as the objects denoted by such and such concepts. . . logically; the extensional definition appears to be equally applicable to infinite classes, but practically, if we were to attempt it, Death would cut short our laudable endeavour before it had attained its goal."(1903:69)

"In the first place, numbers themselves form an infinite collection, and cannot therefore be defined by enumeration. , for if this were not the case the total number of things in the world would be finite, which, though possible, seems unlikely. In the third place, we wish to define "number" in such a way that infinite numbers may be possible; thus we must be able to speak of the number of terms in an infinite collection, and such a collection must be defined by intension, i.e. by a property common to all its members and peculiar to them." (1919:13)
In the second place, the collections having a given number of terms themselves presumably form an infinite collection: it is to be presumed, for example, that there are an infinite collection of trios in the world

And in the second edition of PM (1927) Russell holds that "functions occur only through their values, . . . all functions of functions are extensional, . . . [and] consequently there is no reason to distinguish between functions and classes . . . Thus classes, as distinct from functions, lose even that shadowy being which they retain in *20" (p. xxxix). In other words, classes as a separate notion have vanished altogether.

Step 3: Define the null class: Notice that a certain class of classes is special because its classes contain no elements, i.e. no elements satisfy the predicates whose assertion defined this particular class/collection.

Step 4: Assign a "numeral" to each bundle: For purposes of abbreviation and identification, to each bundle assign a unique symbol (aka a "numeral"). These symbols are arbitrary.

Observe in particular that Russell does not use the unit class of classes "1" to construct the successor

For his definition of successor, Russell will use for his "unit" a single entity or "term" as follows:

." (1919:23)
the successor of the number of terms in the class α is the number of terms in the class consisting of α together with x where x is not any term belonging to the class

Russell's definition requires a new "term" which is "added into" the collections inside the bundles.

Step 8: For every class of equinumerous classes, create its successor.

Russell applies to the notion of "ordering relation" three criteria: First, he defines the notion of "asymmetry" i.e. given the relation such as S (" . . . is the successor of . . . ") between two terms x, and y: x S y ≠ y S x. Second, he defines the notion of "transitivity" for three numerals x, y and z: if x S y and y S z then x S z. Third, he defines the notion of "connected": "Given any two terms of the class which is to be ordered, there must be one which precedes and the other which follows. . . . A relation is connected when, given any two different terms of its field [both domain and converse domain of a relation e.g. husbands versus wives in the relation of married] the relation holds between the first and the second or between the second and the first (not excluding the possibility that both may happen, though both cannot happen if the relation is asymmetrical).(1919:32)

The presumption of an 'extralogical' notion of iteration: Kleene notes that "the logicistic thesis can be questioned finally on the ground that logic already presupposes mathematical ideas in its formulation. In the Intuitionistic view, an essential mathematical kernel is contained in the idea of iteration" (Kleene 1952:46)

Bernays 1930–1931 observes that this notion "two things" already presupposes something, even without the claim of existence of two things, and also without reference to a predicate, which applies to the two things; it means, simply, "a thing and one more thing. . . . With respect to this simple definition, the Number concept turns out to be an elementary structural concept . . . the claim of the logicists that mathematics is purely logical knowledge turns out to be blurred and misleading upon closer observation of theoretical logic. . . . [one can extend the definition of "logical"] however, through this definition what is epistemologically essential is concealed, and what is peculiar to mathematics is overlooked" (in Mancosu 1998:243).

In brief, according to Hilbert and Bernays, the notion of "sequence" or "successor" is an a priori notion that lies outside symbolic logic.

Hilbert dismissed logicism as a "false path": "Some tried to define the numbers purely logically; others simply took the usual number-theoretic modes of inference to be self-evident. On both paths they encountered obstacles that proved to be insuperable." (Hilbert 1931 in Mancoso 1998:267). The incompleteness theorems arguably constitute a similar obstacle for Hilbertian finitism.

Mancosu states that Brouwer concluded that: "the classical laws or principles of logic are part of [the] perceived regularity [in the symbolic representation]; they are derived from the post factum record of mathematical constructions . . . Theoretical logic . . . [is] an empirical science and an application of mathematics" (Brouwer quoted by Mancosu 1998:9).

In particular he pointed out that "The matter is especially doubtful for the rule of substitution and of replacing defined symbols by their definiens" (Russell 1944:120)

With respect to the philosophy that might underlie these foundations, Gödel considered Russell's "no-class theory" as embodying a "nominalistic kind of constructivism . . . which might better be called fictionalism" (cf. footnote 1 in Gödel 1944:119) — to be faulty. See more in "Gödel's criticism and suggestions" below.

This sort of definition of I was deemed by Poincaré to be "impredicative". He seems to have considered that only predicative definitions can be allowed in mathematics:

By Poincaré's definition, the librarian's index book is "impredicative" because the definition of I is dependent upon the definition of the totality I, Ά, β, and Γ. As noted below, some commentators insist that impredicativity in commonsense versions is harmless, but as the examples show below there are versions which are not harmless. In response to these difficulties, Russell advocated a strong prohibition, his "vicious circle principle":

To make the function "impredicative", identify the input with the output, yielding α = 1-α

Within the algebra of, say, rational numbers the equation is satisfied when α = 0.5. But within, for instance, a Boolean algebra, where only "truth values" 0 and 1 are permitted, then the equality cannot be satisfied.

But, since the class with numeral 1 is a single object or unit in its own right, it too must be included in the class of unit classes. This inclusion results in an infinite regress of increasing type and increasing content.

Russell avoided this problem by declaring a class to be more or a "fiction". By this he meant that a class could designate only those elements that satisfied its propositional function and nothing else. As a "fiction" a class cannot be considered to be a thing: an entity, a "term", a singularity, a "unit". It is an assemblage but is not in Russell's view "worthy of thing-hood":

This supposes that "at the bottom" every single solitary "term" can be listed (specified by a "predicative" predicate) for any class, for any class of classes, for class of classes of classes, etc, but it introduces a new problem—a hierarchy of "types" of classes.

But Russell did not do this. After a detailed analysis in Appendix A: The Logical and Arithmetical Doctrines of Frege in his 1903, Russell concludes:

"The logical doctrine which is thus forced upon us is this: The subject of a proposition may be not a single term, but essentially many terms; this is the case with all propositions asserting numbers other than 0 and 1" (1903:516).

In the following notice the wording "the class as many"—a class is an aggregate of those terms (things) that satisfy the propositional function, but a class is not a thing-in-itself:

"Thus the final conclusion is, that the correct theory of classes is even more extensional than that of Chapter VI; that the class as many is the only object always defined by a propositional function, and that this is adequate for formal purposes" (1903:518).
Ramified theory of types: function-orders and argument-types, predicative functions
"All propositions, of whatever order, are derived from a matrix composed of elementary propositions combined by means of the stroke" (PM 1927 Appendix A, p. 385)

The net result, though, was a collapse of his theory. Russell arrived at this disheartening conclusion: that "the theory of ordinals and cardinals survives . . . but irrationals, and real numbers generally, can no longer be adequately dealt with. . . . Perhaps some further axiom, less objectionable than the axiom of reducibility, might give these results, but we have not succeeded in finding such an axiom" (PM 1927:xiv).

Gödel 1944 agrees that Russell's logicist project was stymied; he seems to disagree that even the integers survived:

"[In the second edition] The axiom of reducibility is dropped, and it is stated explicitly that all primitive predicates belong to the lowest type and that the only purpose of variables (and evidently also of constants) of higher orders and types is to make it possible to assert more complicated truth-functions of atomic propositions" (Gödel 1944 in Collected Works:134).

Gödel, in his 1944 work, identifies the place where he considers Russell's logicism to fail and offers suggestions to rectify the problems. He submits the "vicious circle principle" to re-examination, splitting it into three parts "definable only in terms of", "involving" and "presupposing". It is the first part that "makes impredicative definitions impossible and thereby destroys the derivation of mathematics from logic, effected by Dedekind and Frege, and a good deal of mathematics itself". Since, he argues, mathematics sees to rely on its inherent impredicativities (e.g. "real numbers defined by reference to all real numbers"), he concludes that what he has offered is "a proof that the vicious circle principle is false [rather] than that classical mathematics is false" (all quotes Gödel 1944:127).

"is of great interest as one of the few examples, carried out in detail, of the tendency to eliminate assumptions about the existence of objects outside the "data" and to replace them by constructions on the basis of these data33. The "data" are to understand in a relative sense here; i.e. in our case as logic without the assumption of the existence of classes and concepts]. The result has been in this case essentially negative; i.e. the classes and concepts introduced in this way do not have all the properties required from their use in mathematics. . . . All this is only a verification of the view defended above that logic and mathematics (just as physics) are built up on axioms with a real content which cannot be explained away" (p. 132)

He concludes his essay with the following suggestions and observations:

"One should take a more conservative course, such as would consist in trying to make the meaning of terms "class" and "concept" clearer, and to set up a consistent theory of classes and concepts as objectively existing entities. This is the course which the actual development of mathematical logic has been taking and which Russell himself has been forced to enter upon in the more constructive parts of his work. Major among the attempts in this direction . . . are the simple theory of types . . . and axiomatic set theory, both of which have been successful at least to this extent, that they permit the derivation of modern mathematics and at the same time avoid all known paradoxes . . . ¶ It seems reasonable to suspect that it is this incomplete understanding of the foundations which is responsible for the fact that mathematical logic has up to now remained so far behind the high expectations of Peano and others . . .." (p. 140)