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Sunday, April 04, 2021

The Beautiful Consistency of Mathematics — Alexander Yessenin-Volpin | Philosophy Of Mathematics - Medium

Mathematics is often believed to bring people to madness. We hear many stories like those about Gödel, Cantor, Nash, and Grothendieck, describing geniuses haunted by insanity that is developing along with their mathematics, explains Jan Gronwald, published in Cantor’s Paradise.

Photo: Medium

And there is something to it. A certain psychologist said that

A paranoid person is irrationally rational. . . . Paranoid thinking is characterized not by illogic, but by a misguided logic, by logic run wild

Mathematics is the paradigm of rationality and maybe if the rationality takes over all of the aspects of life, we can talk of a mental issue. But this time I want to bring to light an opposite example. This time I want to share a story about a mathematician who was the voice of reason and sanity in the world that has run wild. And one whose mathematics was the model of his approach in social life. 

Meet Alexander Yessenin-Volpin (1924–2016)...

His Mathematics

Yessenin-Volpin believed that the traditional style of making mathematics is similarly hypocritical to the style of handling legal issues in the Soviet Union. He claimed that the unreasonable and careless inclusion of the concept of infinity into mathematical discourse is the culprit of depriving it of exactness it was actually to grant.

Therefore he urged for a radical revision of foundations of mathematics, based on the claim that the concept of infinity, both potential and actual, is utterly nonsensical.

Read more... 

Source: Medium