Richard Dedekind around 1870 introduced a new way of thinking about what a real number `was'. By analyzing the case of sqrt(2), he concluded that we could associated to a real number a partition of the rational numbers into two subsets A and B, where all the elements of A were less than all the elements of B, and where A had no greatest element. Such partitions are now called Dedekind cuts, and purport to give a logical and substantial foundation for the theory of real numbers.Does this actually work? Can we really create an arithmetic of real numbers this way? No and no. It does not really work. In this video we raise the difficult issues that believers like to avoid.
Does mathematics make logical sense? No, it does not. Foundational issues have been finessed by modern mathematicians, and this series aims to turn things around. And it will have interesting things to say also about mathematics education---especially at the primary and high school level. The plan is to start right from the beginning, and to define all the really important concepts of basic mathematics without any waffling or appeals to authority. Roughly we discuss first arithmetic, then geometry, then algebra, then analysis, then set theory. This course is aimed for a general audience, interested in mathematics, or willing to learn.