Sponsored by the Rutgers University Department of Mathematics and the
Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS)
Title: Naming Infinities: French and Russian mathematicians and the birth of descriptive set theory
Speaker: Jean-Michel Kantor, Institut Mathematiques de Jussieu, Universite Paris
Date: Thursday, November 20, 2008 5:00pm
Location: Hill Center, Room 705, Rutgers University, Busch Campus, Piscataway, NJ
Exploring the birth of descriptive set theory in France and Russia (1890--1930) we show that the leading French mathematicians worked within a rational worldview that led them to doubt the legitimacy of transfinite cardinals and ordinals.
On the other hand some of the main creators of Lusitania, and first Nikolai Luzin, were positively influenced in their belief in the freedom of the mathematical creation by their religious doctrine known as "name-worshipping", Imiaslavie. We will examine finally the current situation fo the philosophical problems underlying this unknown sequence of history of mathematics, developed in our book with Loren Graham.