Takeuti's Well-ordering Proof

An Accessible Recontruction


  • Aaron Thomas-Bolduc none
  • Eamon Darnell




G. Genzten’s 1938 proof of the consistency of pure arithmetic was hailed as a success for finitism and constructivism, but his proof requires induction along ordinal notations in Cantor normal form up to the first epsilon number, ε0. This left the task of giving a finitisically acceptable proof of the well-ordering of those ordinal notations, without which Gentzen’s proof could hardly be seen as a success for finitism. In his seminal book Proof Theory G. Takeuti provides such a proof. After a brief philosophical introduction, we provide a reconstruction of Takeuti’s proof including corrections, comments, re-organization and notational adjustments for the sake of clarity. The result is a much longer, but much more tractable proof of the well-ordering of ordinal notations in Cantor normal form less than ε0, that nevertheless follows Takeuti’s strategy closely. We end with some more general comments about that proof strategy and the notion of accessibility more generally.


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