Reck on Dedekind

Erich Reck‘s entry on Richard Dedekind in the SEP is now online. I’m particularly happy about this one: It’s time Dedekind gets some of the attention for his philosophy of math that Frege’s been getting for his, and Erich’s entry as well as his other work, I hope, will help bring that about.

While many of Dedekind’s contributions to mathematics and its foundations are thus common knowledge, they are seldom discussed together. In particular, his mathematical writings are often treated separately from his foundational ones. This entry provides a broad survey of his contributions. The main focus will be on his foundational writings, but they will be related to his other mathematical work. Indeed, it will be argued that foundational concerns are at play throughout Dedekind’s work, so that any attempt to distinguish sharply between his “mathematical” and “foundational” writings is artificial and misleading. Another goal of the entry is to establish the continuing relevance of his contributions to the philosophy of mathematics. Indeed, their full significance has only started to be recognized, as should become evident along the way. This is especially so with respect to methodological and epistemological aspects of Dedekind’s work, which shape and ground the logical and metaphysical views that emerge in his writings.

I also recommend: “Dedekind’s Structuralism: An Interpretation and Partial Defense”, Synthese 137:3, 2003, pp. 369-419 (paper)

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