Georg Cantor citations
Date de naissance: 19. février 1845
Date de décès: 6. janvier 1918
Georg Cantor est un mathématicien allemand, né le 3 mars 1845 à Saint-Pétersbourg et mort le 6 janvier 1918 à Halle . Il est connu pour être le créateur de la théorie des ensembles.
Il établit l'importance de la bijection entre les ensembles, définit les ensembles infinis et les ensembles bien ordonnés. Il prouva également que les nombres réels sont « plus nombreux » que les entiers naturels. En fait, le théorème de Cantor implique l'existence d'une « infinité d'infinis ». Il définit les nombres cardinaux, les nombres ordinaux et leur arithmétique. Le travail de Cantor est d'un grand intérêt philosophique et a donné lieu à maintes interprétations et à maints débats.
Cantor a été confronté à la résistance de la part des mathématiciens de son époque, en particulier Kronecker.
Poincaré, bien qu'il connût et appréciât les travaux de Cantor, avait de profondes réserves sur son maniement de l'infini en tant que totalité achevée. Les accès de dépressions récurrents de Cantor, de 1884 à la fin de sa vie, ont été parfois attribués à l'attitude hostile de certains de ses contemporains, mais ces accès sont souvent à présent interprétés comme des manifestations d'un probable trouble bipolaire.
Au XXIe siècle, la valeur des travaux de Cantor n'est pas discutée par la majorité des mathématiciens qui y voient un changement de paradigme, à l'exception d'une partie du courant constructiviste qui s'inscrit à la suite de Kronecker. Dans le but de contrer les détracteurs de Cantor, David Hilbert a affirmé : « Nul ne doit nous exclure du Paradis que Cantor a créé. »
Citations Georg Cantor
de David Hilbert
„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.“
As quoted in Out of the Mouths of Mathematicians : A Quotation Book for Philomaths (1993) by Rosemary Schmalz.
Contexte: 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.
As quoted in Journey Through Genius (1990) by William Dunham ~
Contexte: This view [of the infinite], which I consider to be the sole correct one, is held by only a few. While possibly I am the very first in history to take this position so explicitly, with all of its logical consequences, I know for sure that I shall not be the last!
From Kant to Hilbert (1996)
Contexte: As for the mathematical infinite, to the extent that it has found a justified application in science and contributed to its usefulness, it seems to me that it has hitherto appeared principally in the role of a variable quantity, which either grows beyond all bounds or diminishes to any desired minuteness, but always remains finite. I call this the improper infinite [das Uneigentlich-unendliche].
„Mathematics is in its development entirely free and is only bound in the self-evident respect that its concepts must both be consistent with each other, and also stand in exact relationships, ordered by definitions, to those concepts which have previously been introduced and are already at hand and established.“
From Kant to Hilbert (1996)
Contexte: Mathematics is in its development entirely free and is only bound in the self-evident respect that its concepts must both be consistent with each other, and also stand in exact relationships, ordered by definitions, to those concepts which have previously been introduced and are already at hand and established. In particular, in the introduction of new numbers, it is only obligated to give definitions of them which will bestow such a determinacy and, in certain circumstances, such a relationship to the other numbers that they can in any given instance be precisely distinguished. As soon as a number satisfies all these conditions, it can and must be regarded in mathematics as existent and real.
As quoted in Understanding the Infinite (1994) by Shaughan Lavine
Contexte: The transfinite numbers are in a certain sense themselves new irrationalities and in fact in my opinion the best method of defining the finite irrational numbers is wholly dissimilar to, and I might even say in principle the same as, my method described above of introducing transfinite numbers. One can say unconditionally: the transfinite numbers stand or fall with the finite irrational numbers; they are like each other in their innermost being; for the former like the latter are definite delimited forms or modifications of the actual infinite.
„My theory stands as firm as a rock; every arrow directed against it will return quickly to its archer.“
As quoted in Journey Through Genius (1990) by William Dunham
Contexte: My theory stands as firm as a rock; every arrow directed against it will return quickly to its archer. How do I know this? Because I have studied it from all sides for many years; because I have examined all objections which have ever been made against the infinite numbers; and above all because I have followed its roots, so to speak, to the first infallible cause of all created things.
„The totality of all alephs cannot be conceived as a determinate, well-defined, and also a finished set.“
Letter to David Hilbert (2 October 1897)
Contexte: The totality of all alephs cannot be conceived as a determinate, well-defined, 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 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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Doctoral thesis (1867); variant translation: In mathematics the art of proposing a question must be held of higher value than solving it.
Original: (la) In re mathematica ars proponendi quaestionem pluris facienda est quam solvendi.
„The fear of infinity is a form of myopia that destroys the possibility of seeing the actual infinite, even though it in its highest form has created and sustains us, and in its secondary transfinite forms occurs all around us and even inhabits our minds.“
As quoted in Infinity and the Mind (1995) by Rudy Rucker.
„The old and oft-repeated 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.“
"Über unendliche, lineare Punktmannigfaltigkeiten" in Mathematische Annalen 20 (1882) <!-- pp 113-121 --> Quoted in "Cantor's Grundlagen and the paradoxes of Set Theory" by William W. Tait
„I entertain no doubts as to the truths of the transfinites, which I recognized with God’s help and which, in their diversity, I have studied for more than twenty years; every year, and almost every day brings me further in this science.“
As quoted in Modern Mathematicians, (1995) by Harry Henderson. ~ ISBN 0816032351
„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.“
Grundlagen einer allgemeinen Mannigfaltigkeitslehre [Foundations of a General Theory of Aggregates] (1883)
Er ist aber in Kopenhagen geboren, von israelitischen Eltern, die der dortigen portugisischen Judengemeinde.
Of his father. In a letter written by Georg Cantor to Paul Tannery in 1896 (Paul Tannery, Memoires Scientifique 13 Correspondance, Gauthier-Villars, Paris, 1934, p. 306)
„The actual infinite arises in three contexts: first when it is realized in the most complete form, in a fully independent otherworldly being, in Deo, where I call it the Absolute Infinite or simply Absolute; second when it occurs in the contingent, created world; third when the mind grasps it in abstracto as a mathematical magnitude, number or order type.“
As quoted in Mind Tools: The Five Levels of Mathematical Reality (1988) by Rudy Rucker. ~ ISBN 0395468108
„Infinity, in its first form (the improper-infinite) presents itself as a variable finite [veranderliches Endliches]; in the other form (which I call the proper infinite [Eigentlich-unendliche]) it appears as a thoroughly determinate [bestimmtes] infinite.“
From Kant to Hilbert (1996)
Variant translation: The essence of mathematics is in its freedom.
From Kant to Hilbert (1996)