1966 | Set Theory and the Continuum Hypothesis |
5.4 | p.150 | 14248 | We could accept the integers as primitive, then use sets to construct the rest |
Full Idea: A very reasonable position would be to accept the integers as primitive entities and then use sets to form higher entities. | |||
From: Paul J. Cohen (Set Theory and the Continuum Hypothesis [1966], 5.4), quoted by Oliver,A/Smiley,T - What are Sets and What are they For? | |||
A reaction: I find this very appealing, and the authority of this major mathematician adds support. I would say, though, that the integers are not 'primitive', but pick out (in abstraction) consistent features of the natural world. |