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Georg Cantor quotes
Georg Cantor
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In re mathematica ars proponendi pluris facienda est quam solvendi.
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# Education
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I realize that in this undertaking I place myself in a certain opposition to views widely held concerning the mathematical infinite and to opinions frequently defended on the nature of numbers.
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Had MittagLeffler had his way, I should have to wait until the year 1984, which to me seemed too great a demand!
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The old and oftrepeated proposition "Totum est majus sua parte" [the whole is larger than the part] may be applied without proof only in the case of entities that are based upon whole and part; then and only then is it an undeniable consequence of the concepts "totum" and "pars". Unfortunately, however, this "axiom" is used innumerably often without any basis and in neglect of the necessary distinction between "reality" and "quantity", on the one hand, and "number" and "set", on the other, precisely in the sense in which it is generally false.
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There is no doubt that we cannot do without variable quantities in the sense of the potential infinite. But from this very fact the necessity of the actual infinite can be demonstrated.
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# Science and Scientists
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In order for there to be a variable quantity in some mathematical study, the domain of its variability must strictly speaking be known beforehand through a definition. However, this domain cannot itself be something variable, since otherwise each fixed support for the study would collapse. Thus this domain is a definite, actually infinite set of values. Hence each potential infinite, if it is rigorously applicable mathematically, presupposes an actual infinite.
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The potential infinite means nothing other than an undetermined, variable quantity, always remaining finite, which has to assume values that either become smaller than any finite limit no matter how small, or greater than any finite limit no matter how great.
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Er ist aber in Kopenhagen geboren, von israelitischen Eltern, die der dortigen portugisischen Judengemeinde.
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The totality of all alephs cannot be conceived as a determinate, welldefined, and also a finished set. This is the punctum saliens, and I venture to say that this completely certain theorem, provable rigorously from the definition of the totality of all alephs, is the most important and noblest theorem of set theory. One must only understand the expression "finished" correctly. I say of a set that it can be thought of as finished (and call such a set, if it contains infinitely many elements, "transfinite" or "suprafinite") if it is possible without contradiction (as can be done with finite sets) to think of all its elements as existing together, and to to think of the set itself as a compounded thing for itself; or (in other words) if it is possible to imagine the set as actually existing with the totality of its elements.
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I have never proceeded from any Genus supremum of the actual infinite. Quite the contrary, I have rigorously proved that there is absolutely no Genus supremum of the actual infinite. What surpasses all that is finite and transfinite is no Genus; it is the single, completely individual unity in which everything is included, which includes the Absolute, incomprehensible to the human understanding. This is the Actus Purissimus, which by many is called God. I am so in favor of the actual infinite that instead of admitting that Nature abhors it, as is commonly said, I hold that Nature makes frequent use of it everywhere, in order to show more effectively the perfections of its Author. Thus I believe that there is no part of matter which is not — I do not say divisible — but actually divisible; and consequently the least particle ought to be considered as a world full of an infinity of different creatures.
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Georg Ferdinand Ludwig Philipp Cantor was a German mathematician, born in Russia. He is best known as the creator of set theory, which has become a fundamental theory in mathematics. Cantor established the importance of onetoone correspondence...
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