Hilberts Logik. Von der Axiomatik zur Beweistheorie
- Cite this article as:
- Peckhaus, V. NTM N.S. (1995) 3: 65. doi:10.1007/BF02913699
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This paper gives a survey of David Hilbert's (1862–1943) changing attitudes towards logic. The logical theory of the Göttingen mathematician is presented as intimately linked to his studies on the foundation of mathematics. Hilbert developed his logical theory in three stages: (1) in his early axiomatic programme until 1903 Hilbert proposed to use the traditional theory of logical inferences to prove the consistency of his set of axioms for arithmetic. (2) After the publication of the logical and set-theoretical paradoxes by Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell it was due to Hilbert and his closest collaborator Ernst Zermelo that mathematical logic became one of the topics taught in courses for Göttingen mathematics students. The axiomatization of logic and set-theory became part of the axiomatic programme, and they tried to create their own consistent logical calculi as tools for proving consistency of axiomatic systems. (3) In his struggle with intuitionism, represented by L. E. J. Brouwer and his advocate Hermann Weyl, Hilbert, assisted by Paul Bemays, created the distinction between proper mathematics and meta-mathematics, the latter using only finite means. He considerably revised the logical calculus of thePrincipia Mathematica of Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell by introducing the ε-axiom which should serve for avoiding infinite operations in logic.