Thursday, August 11, 2011

How infinite primes relate to other views about mathematical infinity?

Infinite primes is a purely TGD inspired notion. The notion of infinity is number theoretical and infinite primes have well defined divisibility properties. One can partially order them by the real norm. p-Adic norms of infinite primes are well defined and finite. The construction of infinite primes is a hierarchical procedure structurally equivalent to a repeated second quantization of a supersymmetric arithmetic quantum field theory. At the lowest level bosons and fermions are labelled by ordinary primes. At the next level one obtains free Fock states plus states having interpretation as bound many particle states. The many particle states of a given level become the single particle states of the next level and one can repeat the construction ad infinitum. The analogy with quantum theory is intriguing and I have proposed that the quantum states in TGD Universe correspond to octonionic generalizations of infinite primes.

It is interesting to compare infinite primes (and integers) to the Cantorian view about infinite ordinals and cardinals. The basic problems of Cantor's approach relate to the axiom of choice, continuum hypothesis, and Russell's antinomy: all these problems are due to the definition of ordinals as sets. In TGD framework infinite primes, integers, and rationals are defined purely algebraically so that these problems are avoided. It is not surprising that these approaches are not equivalent. For instance, sum and product for Cantorian ordinals are not commutative unlike for infinite integers defined in terms of infinite primes.

Set theory defines the foundations of modern mathematics. Set theory relies strongly on classical physics, and the obvious question is whether one should reconsider the foundations of mathematics in light of quantum physics. Is set theory really the correct approach to axiomatization?

  1. Quantum view about consciousness and cognition leads to a proposal that p-adic physics serves as a correlate for cognition. Together with the notion of infinite primes this suggests that number theory should play a key role in the axiomatics.

  2. Algebraic geometry allows algebraization of the set theory and this kind of approach suggests itself strongly in physics inspired approach to the foundations of mathematics. This means powerful limitations on the notion of set.

  3. Finite measurement resolution and finite resolution of cognition could have implications also for the foundations of mathematics and relate directly to the fact that all numerical approaches reduce to an approximation using rationals with a cutoff on the number of binary digits.

  4. The TGD inspired vision about consciousness implies evolution by quantum jumps meaning that also evolution of mathematics so that no fixed system of axioms can ever catch all the mathematical truths for the simple reason that mathematicians themselves evolve with mathematics.

It is interesting to discuss the possible impact of these observations on the foundations of physical mathematics assuming that one accepts the TGD inspired view about infinity, about the notion of number, and the restrictions on the notion of set suggested by classical TGD.

I do not bother to type all the text here. For details the reader can consult either to the chapter Physics as Generalized Number Theory: Infinite Primes of the online book "Physics as Generalized Number Theory" or to the article How Infinite Primes Relate to Other Views about Mathematical Infinity?.

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