[FOM] Notations in set theory

mark van atten Mark.vanAtten at univ-paris1.fr
Mon Oct 13 15:55:01 EDT 2008

The use of `V' to refer to the universe of all sets has its
origin, via Whitehead and Russell?s Principia, in Peano;
Kreisel reports that what Gödel had meant by `L' was
`lawlike.' (p.158 of `Gödel?s Excursions into
Intuitionistic Logic,' in Gödel Remembered. Salzburg 10-12
July 1983, eds. P. Weingartner and L. Schmetterer (Napoli:
Bibliopolis, 1987)) But as Kreisel goes on to say that `at
the time [i.e. of the consistency proof] he toyed with the
idea that L contained all legitimate definitions of sets',
one may also suggest that originally `L' rather stood for
the German `legitim (definiert, definierbar)'. That
`lawlike' starts with the same letter would then be a
fortunate coincidence of the linguistic kind. (In German,
?lawlike? is ?gesetzmäßig?.)

Best wishes,

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