[FOM] My FOM reviews

Harvey Friedman friedman at math.ohio-state.edu
Fri Jun 13 11:48:29 EDT 2003

I announced my intention to do some serious reviewing here on the FOM 
some time ago 4:52AM 5/25/03.

I would like to clarify what I have in mind, and also expand the list 
of expected items to be reviewed.

Notice that I have changed the title from the previous posting, which was

FOM reviews

to the present title,

My FOM reviews.

This is to make clear that my reviews are not going to be any kind of 
"official" FOM reviews, and are themselves subject to the review of 
the Moderator Martin Davis (including consultation with the Editorial 
Board as appropriate) before they can even appear on the FOM.

And of course, all FOM subscribers have the perfect right to submit 
any reviews of anything, again subject to review of the Moderator 
(including consultation with the Editorial Board as appropriate) 
before they can appear on the FOM.

I am looking to the reviews on the FOM by myself and others as a 
significant step in the inevitable transition of academic research 
life from

1. personal interaction at Universities and conferences.
2. formal publications in Journals and proceedings.
3. formal publications of books.
4. formal publications of reviews.


5. personal interaction, public and private, in electronic form.
6. electronic dissemination of polished work, permanently archived.
7. informal and semiformal dissemination of unpolished work, ideas, 
sketches, points of view, dialogs, etc., permanently archived.
8. informal, semiformal, and formal dissemination of reviews of 
various kinds of works, permanently archived.
9. open interaction with the entire world connected with all aspects 
of 5-8, supporting the generation in real time of revisions and 
improved versions of 5-8, permanently archived.
10. formal publication as in 1-4 resulting from the interactive 
fleshing out into polished form of 5-9.

1-4 will generally be implemented only for material that is "engraved 
in stone", which for many academic areas such as f.o.m., is generally 
long after it is properly vetted in 5-10.

This transition is obviously completely inevitable, and can only be 
temporarily resisted. Those who ignore this risk being left out of 

This posting concerns just the review aspect of the transition. The 
FOM reviews differ from normal reviews in the following ways:

1. It is not subject to any space limitations.
2. Any subscriber can review anything they want when they want, 
subject only to the FOM moderation process.
3. The reviews are subject to interactive interchange, including with 
the authors of the materials under review.
4. In light of 3, reviews can be revised, or even withdrawn*.
5. Reviews may later be submitted to formal Journals for publication.

*Actual withdrawal is impossible, as the Archives is unmodifiable. 
However, one could post a message to the effect that "We no longer 
stand by our review.". Try to do that with a formal Journal!!

There is an important aspect of 3. This relieves the reviewer from 
the burden of being an expert in all aspects of the material under 
review, as the reviewer can openly (and otherwise) seek additional 
information and expertise that he (she) does not have. Or they can 
openly solicit a joint author for an improved version of the review.

In addition, the author under review can be reasonably expected to 
find out about the review and be able to make a rejoinder in real 
time - assuming they are a subscriber to the FOM.

In my previous posting, I stated my intention to review 14 items, and 
wrote the following preamble:

>In an effort to do my part in making the FOM email list the 
>mandatory place of record for important issues in f.o.m. and f.o.m. 
>related topics, I want to expand my activities on the FOM.
>My primary activity on the FOM is, and will remain, the reporting of 
>my research in f.o.m. that is of sufficient general interest.
>I have already started the FTGI (fundamental topics of general 
>interest) series with my posting 
>I now want to post (my) reviews of selected papers/books on major 
>topics in f.o.m. or that are f.o.m. related. These include 
>mathemaical expositions and works in the philosophy of 
>mathematics/logic, as well as works in the foundations of computer 
>science. In general, I will not review individual research papers.
>These reviews will be of a more informal nature than would be 
>appropriate for formal publication in Journals. Furthermore, I 
>expect that people may post opposing views, and there will be some 
>electronic interaction, that may result in additional content and 
>modification of my original viewpoint.
>Because of the nature of this electronic medium, it is NOT important 
>that I am not an expert on many of the areas in which these reviewed 
>items lie. A requirement of expertise IS appropriate for a formal 
>Journal context, since one wants maximum knowledge and experience on 
>the part of reviewers because of the NONINTERACTIVE nature of 
>ordinary reviewing.
>It is only necessary that I be fair, reasonable, well balanced, 
>present good arguments and perceptive points, raise relevant 
>questions, have an underlying level of competence and experience, 
>admit mistakes, learn from mistakes, take into account opposing 
>views, seek, get and digest information that I don't have, etc.
>I want to maintain a dynamic list of prioritized items to review.
>I welcome suggestions from the subscribers. If I can't review it, 
>perhaps some other subscriber(s) can review it on the FOM.
>Here is a preliminary list of items I would like to review.

I now want to expand the list somewhat. I was particularly interested 
in hearing from subscribers as to items that are not on this list 
that they would  particularly like someone to review. In fact, there 
are many items that are equally important to review as the ones 
listed below, that I have seen. I want to make a more comprehensive 
list in the near future. But I thought that it would be interesting 
to see what the FOM subscribers are particularly interested in.

Here is the new list, in no particular order.

1. The Prospects for Mathematical Logic in the Twenty-First Century, 
by Buss, Kechris, Pillay, Shore, Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, Vol. 7, 
No. 2, June, 2001.

1. Recent Progress on the Continuum Hypothesis (after Woodin), by 
Patrick Dehornoy, http://matin.math.unicaen.fr/~dehornoy/

2. Another Use of Set Theory, Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, Patrick 
Dehornoy, Vol. 2, No. 4, December, 1996. Elementary Embeddings and 
Algebra, by Patrick Dehornoy, http://matin.math.unicaen.fr/~dehornoy/

3. Model Theory: Geometrical and Set-Theoretic Aspects and Prospects, 
Angus Macintyre, Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, vol. 9, no. 2, June 2003.

4. New Directions in Descriptive Set Theory, by A. Kechris, Bulletin 
of Symbolic Logic, vol. 5, no. 2, June, 1999.

5. Hilbert's Programs: 1917-22, W. Seig, Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, 
vol. 5, no. 1, March, 1999.

6. Godel's Path from the Incompleteness Theorems (1931) to 
Phenomenology (1961), Richard Tieszen, Bulletin of Symblic Logic, 
Vol. 4 No. 2, June 1998.

7. Computability and Recursion, Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, Robert I. 
Soare, Vol. 2 No. 3, September, 1996.

8. Inner Models and Large Cardinals, Ronald Jensen, Bulletin of 
Symbolic Logic, Vol. 1, No. 4, December, 1995.

9. Logic, Logic, and Logic, George Boolos, ed. Richard Jeffrey, 
Harvard University Press, 1998.

10. In the Light of Logic, Solomon Feferman, Oxford University Press, 1998.

11. Mathematics in Philosophy, Selected Essays, Charles Parsons, 
Cornell University Press, 1983.

12. Elements of Intuitionism, Michael Dummett, Clarendon Press, 1977.

13. Realism in Mathematics, Penelope Maddy, Clarendon Press, 1990. 
Naturalism in mathematics, Penelope Maddy, Clarendon Press, 1997.

14. A New Kind of Science, Stephen Wolfram, Stephen Wolfram LLC, 2002.

15. Locus solum, J.-Y. Girard, Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, vol. 9, 
no. 2, June 2003.

16. Foundations and applications: axiomatization and education, 
Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, vol. 9, no. 2, June 2003.

17. Proof theory on the eve of year 2000, S. Feferman, 

18. Kreiseliana, About and around Georg Kreisel, Ed. P. Odifreddi, AK 
Peters, 1996.

There are lots of important materials of this kind that are probably 
at least as important to review than this list. The subscribers 
surely know of many.

Of course, "my eyes are bigger than my stomach". But it would be nice 
to have the list expanded with the help of the subscribers.

Harvey Friedman

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