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Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia

Volume 12, Issue 1, Enero 1997

Gregory H. Moore
Pages 65-90

Hilbert and the emergence of modern mathematical logic

Hilbert’s unpublished 1917 lectures on logic, analyzed here, are the beginning of modern metalogic. In them he proved the consistency and Post-completeness (maximal consistency) of propositional logic -results traditionally credited to Bernays (1918) and Post (1921). These lectures contain the first formal treatment of first-order logic and form the core of Hilbert’s famous 1928 book with Ackermann. What Bernays, influenced by those lectures, did in 1918 was to change the emphasis from the consistency and Post-completeness of a logic to its soundness and completeness: a sentence is provable if and only if valid. By 1917, strongly influenced by PM, Hilbert accepted the theory of types and logicism -a surprising shift. But by 1922 he abandoned the axiom of reducibility and then drew back from logicism, returning to his 1905 approach of trying to prove the consistency of number theory syntactically.

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