[FOM] Fwd: invitation to comment
Timothy Y. Chow
tchow at alum.mit.edu
Sun May 22 15:32:01 EDT 2011
Andre Rodin wrote:
> [Kevin Watkins wrote:]
> > (I have no intuition for whether or not this is even possible in the
> > case of the Poincare conjecture... but for the sake of argument, one
> > might admit the possibility that *some* acceptedly "mathematical"
> > result *might* eventually be shown to imply Con(PA) over a weak base
> > theory.)
>
> In order to establish such a result you need first of all to *formalize*
> the Poicare-Perelman theorem PP (I can see no reason to call it
> conjecture any longer), that is, replace PP by its formal counterpart
> FPP.
No, this is not correct, even given your philosophical position.
It would be perfectly possible to produce a *mathematical* argument that
deduces the consistency of first-order Peano arithmetic from some other
mathematical statement such as the Poincare conjecture, using no
philosophical premises about formal systems and their alleged
relationship to actual mathematical practice. In fact, this has already
been done, not for the Poincare conjecture specifically but with other
mathematical results in its stead. (Joe Shipman pointed this out
recently.)
Now, most people would then be comfortable mimicking such an argument to
produce a *formal* proof of Con(PA) from FPP, and furthermore asserting
that the resulting formal proof has "something to do" with the original
mathematical argument establishing the consistency of first-order Peano
arithmetic from the Poincare conjecture. Given your philosophical
postiion, it seems you would raise some objections here. But that is
irrelevant to Kevin Watkins's proposal.
Tim
More information about the FOM
mailing list