Exploring Predicativity

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Prominent constructive theories of sets as Martin-Löf type theory and Aczel and Myhill constructive set theory, feature a distinctive form of constructivity: predicativity. This may be phrased as a constructibility requirement for sets, which ought to be finitely specifiable in terms of some uncontroversial initial “objects” and simple operations over them. Predicativity emerged at the beginning of the 20th century as a fundamental component of an influential analysis of the paradoxes by Poincaré and Russell. According to this analysis the paradoxes are caused by a vicious circularity in definitions; adherence to predicativity was therefore proposed as a systematic method for preventing such problematic circularity. In the following, I sketch the origins of predicativity, review the fundamental contributions by Russell and Weyl and look at modern incarnations of this notion.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProof and Computation
Subtitle of host publicationDigitization in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Philosophy
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018