Sponsored by the Rutgers University Department of Mathematics and the
Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS)

Andrew Baxter, Rutgers University, baxter{at} math [dot] rutgers [dot] edu
Lara Pudwell, Rutgers University, lpudwell {at} math [dot] rutgers [dot] edu
Doron Zeilberger, Rutgers University, zeilberg {at} math [dot] rutgers [dot] edu

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.