I have frequently come across Kronecker's statement about set theory:

I don't know what predominates in Cantor's theory - philosophy or theology, but I am sure that there is no mathematics there.

It is quoted in Wikipedia. Google shows over 400 hits. But I have never seen a hint to the original source.

It need not be explained that Kronecker had a very negative attitude toward set theory. Did Kronecker say so? And if yes, where and when?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For many references to Kronecker's opposition to Cantorian set theory, you can see José Ferreirós, Labyrinth of Thought: A History of Set Theory and Its Role in Modern Mathematics, Birkhäuser (2007), sub voce, but it seems to me that Kronecker never published his critique. $\endgroup$ Jun 12, 2017 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ That is my impression too. But since here is a pool of professional historians maybe we can find out something. $\endgroup$
    – Franz Kurz
    Jun 12, 2017 at 16:43
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ There was a long discussion of it on Math Forums:"It is not found in Dauben's biography nor his paper... nor in either article by Schoenflies, nor in Bell's "Men of Mathematics"". Well, if even E.T. Bell passed up on it we can be sure that it is a fake. They documented somewhat how it spread. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Jun 12, 2017 at 22:39


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.