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PRL Project

Intuitionistic Mathematics and Logic

by Joan Rand Moschovakis, Garyfallia Vafeiadou

The first seeds of mathematical intuitionism germinated in Europe over a century ago in the constructive tendencies of Borel, Baire, Lebesque, Poincaré, Kronecker and others. The flowering was the work of one man, Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer, who taught mathematics at the University of Amsterdam from 1909 until 1951. By proving powerful theorems on topological invariants and fixed points of continuous mappings, Brouwer quickly build a mathematical reputation strong enough to support his revolutionary ideas about the nature of mathematical activity. These ideas influenced Hilbert and Gödel and established intuitionistic logic and mathematics as subjects worthy of independent study

Our aim is to describe the development of Brouwer's intuitionism, from his rejection of the classical law of excluded middle to his controversial theory of the continuum, with fundamental consequences for logic and mathematics. We borrow Kleene's formal axiomatic systems (incorporating earlier attempts by Kolmogorov, Glivenko, Heyting and Peano) for intuitionistic logic and arithmetic as subtheories of the corresponding classical theories, and sketch his use of gödel numbers of recursive functions to realize sentences of intuitionistic arithmetic including a form of Church's Thesis. Finally, we present Kleene and Vesley's axiomatic treatment of Brouwer's continuum, with the function-realizability interpretation which establishes its consistency.