Brouwer, Plato, and classification

Sam Sanders

Classification is an essential part of all the exact sciences, including mathematical logic.
The program Reverse Mathematics classifies theorems of ordinary mathematics according
to the minimal axioms needed for a proof. We show that the current scale, based on
comprehension and discontinuous functions, is not satisfactory as it classifies many
intuitively weak statements, like the uncountability of $\mathbb{R}$ or properties of
the Riemann integral, in the same rather strong class. We introduce an alternative/
complimentary scale with better properties based on (classically valid) continuity
axioms from Brouwer’s intuitionistic mathematics. We discuss how these new
results provide empirical support for Platonism.