Toricelli's Trumpet

We are a Working Group devoted to the discussion of historical and philosophical issues in symbolic logic, mathematics, and science. We meet on occasional Wednesday evenings for a talk and a lively discussion. The group is funded by the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities and the Department of Philosophy.

All members of the academic community are welcome to attend. We have regular participants in many different fields, including philosophy, mathematics, history of science, and psychology.

The group organizers are Lara Buchak (Philosophy), Wesley Holliday (Philosophy), John MacFarlane (Philosophy), Paolo Mancosu (Philosophy), and Seth Yalcin (Philosophy).

Our next event

November 05, 2014, 6-7:30 PM in 234 Moses Hall

Richard Zach (University of Calgary, Philosophy)

The Decision Problem and Logical Metatheory

The emergence of first-order logic and its metatheory is commonly seen as a switch from a purely axiomatic development of the logical systems in the Hilbert school to a metalogical view that incorporates model-theoretic methods. Although one origin of these model theoretic methods undoubtedly can be found in the work of Skolem and later Gödel and Tarski, to whom they are usually credited, even in the Hilbert school itself work on the decision problem independently gave rise to model-theoretic thinking, occasioned by the needs for proving decidability. The episode shows how mathematical practice can force fundamental changes in methodology.