Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Consistency, philosophy, logic: The expression of consistency is applied to systems or sets of statements. From a contradictory system any statement can be derived (see ex falso quodlibet). Therefore, contradictory systems are basically useless. It is characteristic of a consistent system that not every statement can be proved within it. See also systems, provability, proofs, calculus, consistency, theories, completeness, validity, expressiveness. Within a system, consistency may be demonstrated, but not beyond the boundaries of this system, since the use of the symbols and the set of possible objects are only defined for this system. Within mathematics, and only there applies that the mathematical objects, which are mentioned in consistent formulas, exist (Hilbert, Über das Unendliche, 1926). See also falsification, verification, existence, well-formed.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

John Bigelow on Consistency - Dictionary of Arguments

I 182
Consistency/Bigelow/Pargetter: a way to guarantee that a description is consistent is to show that something meets this description.
Definition Principle of instantiation/Bigelow/Pargetter: we can call this the principle of instantiation (instantiation principle).
Contradiction-free/Bigelow/Pargetter: is essential for mathematics, for other areas it is more like housekeeping.
Consistency/Hilbert: precedes existence. A mathematical proof exists only if it is non-contradictory.
Consistency/FregeVsFormalism/FregeVsHilbert/Bigelow/Pargetter: Existence precedes the consistency. Consistency requires the existence of a consistently described thing. If it exists, the corresponding description is consistent. If it does not exist, how do we guarantee consistency?
I 183
Frege/Bigelow/Pargetter: thinks here epistemically, in terms of "guarantees". But his view can be extended: if there is no object, there is no difference between a consistent and a contradictory description.
Frege/Bigelow/Pargetter: pro Frege: this is the basis for modern mathematics. This is also the reason why quantum theory is so important: it provides examples of everything that mathematicians wish to investigate (at least until recently).

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Big I
J. Bigelow, R. Pargetter
Science and Necessity Cambridge 1990

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2022-11-30
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