[FOM] Mathematician in the street

Bill Taylor W.Taylor at math.canterbury.ac.nz
Thu Aug 27 02:32:55 EDT 2009

Just a small quibble here, for Vaughn Pratt:

>             I would first ask the "street mathematician"
> whether they regarded the concept of set as necessarily tied to
> a particular formulation of mathematical language or whether sets
> had an existence of their own independent of language.  

Isn't there a third plausible option?

They may take it that the universe of sets does indeed have a fixed
"Platonic" existence, but that nevertheless any attempt to deal with it 
necessarily requires one to view them as tied to a particular language.

Much in the same way that there is really only one concept of
"effective computability", or of "a universal machine", or of
Chaitin's constant; but that the particular implementation of it
may seem quite different according to the technical substrate,
which is essentialy unimportant, as they all lead to "the same thing".

Bill Taylor

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