For more than 25 years Elise Cawley has been telling me her thematic (and rather Platonic) view of the foundations of mathematics—and that basing everything on constructed axiom systems is a piece of modernism that misses the point. From what’s described here, I now finally realize that, yes, despite my repeated insistence to the contrary, what she’s been telling me has been on the right track all along!
I’m grateful for extensive help on this project from James Boyd and Nik Murzin, with additional contributions by Brad Klee and Mano Namuduri. Some of the early core technical ideas here arose from discussions with Jonathan Gorard, with additional input from Xerxes Arsiwalla and Hatem Elshatlawy. (Xerxes and Jonathan have now also been developing connections with homotopy type theory.)
I’ve had helpful background discussions (some recently and some longer ago) with many people, including Richard Assar, Jeremy Avigad, Andrej Bauer, Kevin Buzzard, Mario Carneiro, Greg Chaitin, Harvey Friedman, Tim Gowers, Tom Hales, Lou Kauffman, Maryanthe Malliaris, Norm Megill, Assaf Peretz, Dana Scott, Matthew Szudzik, Michael Trott and Vladimir Voevodsky.
I’d like to recognize Norm Megill, creator of the Metamath system used for some of the empirical metamathematics here, who died in December 2021. (Shortly before his death he was also working on simplifying the proof of my axiom for Boolean algebra.)
Most of the specific development of this report has been livestreamed or otherwise recorded, and is available—along with archives of working notebooks—at the Wolfram Physics Project website.
The Wolfram Language code to produce all the images here is directly available by clicking each image. And I should add that this project would have been impossible without the Wolfram Language, both its practical manifestation, and the ideas that it has inspired and clarified. So thanks to everyone involved in the 40+ years of its development and gestation!