The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 113, Issue 5/6, May/June 2016

Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics

Peter Koellner
Pages 247-260

Infinity up on Trial: Reply to Feferman

In this paper I examine Feferman’s reasons for maintaining that while the statements of first-order number theory are “completely clear'” and “completely definite,”' many of the statements of analysis and set theory are “inherently vague'” and “indefinite.”' I critique his four central arguments and argue that in the end the entire case rests on the brute intuition that the concept of subsets of natural numbers—along with the richer concepts of set theory—is not “clear enough to secure definiteness.” My response to this final, remaining point will be that the concept of “being clear enough to secure definiteness” is about as clear a case of an inherently vague and indefinite concept as one might find, and as such it can bear little weight in making a case against the definiteness of analysis and set theory.