FOM: Some thoughts on "Realism"

Fred Richman richman at
Tue Jun 20 16:51:37 EDT 2000

Joe Shipman wrote:

> Rejecting the idea that all properties/subsets are
> decidable/detatchable is not enough, because the particular property
> being discussed here, primeness, is a very concrete, ...

The property P(n) =

> "there is a pair of twin primes above n"

has not been decided. Is the statement P(10^(10^10)) determinate given
that the set of integers exists as a completed whole?

> "the set of integers exists as a completed whole" means, to
> me, that the set of integers is something you can quantify 
> over with no loss of meaning.

(I am reminded, perhaps for no good reason, of a claim, that I never
quite understood, to the effect that "there exists a prime greater
than 10" is meaningless, or at least improper. I suppose the defect is
that the quantification is over the set of integers.)

Can't we understand the meaning of the statement P(10^(10^10)) without
claiming that it is determinate?


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