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Ideas of Paul J. Cohen, by Text

[American, fl. 1955, ]

1966 Set Theory and the Continuum Hypothesis
5.4 p.150 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.