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About Uwe Petersen
(Picture of Uwe Petersen
taken without him noticing)

  • name: Uwe Petersen
  • born: yes (27.6.1948, Berlin)
  • school: yes (memory suppressed)
  • university: yes (details lost)
  • Dr. phil.: yes (1973)
  • Dr. phil. habil.: yes (1985)
  • Dr. h.c.: no
  • current academic positions: none
  • other positions: for the time being he holds one of the "Undistinguished Blue Swivel Chairs" at his home in Altona
  • publications: meagre - view list
  • memberships: none (Groucho)
  • editorships: none
  • marriages: one (to Valerie Kerruish, since 1999)
  • divorces: none
  • children: none
  • awards: none
  • self esteem: solid
  • mental health: mostly stable
  • sense of humour: lacking

Profile of Uwe Petersen

He is a self-styled protagonist of dialectical logic as a rigidly mathematical theory, with virtually no regard for current academic philosophy. He is completely self-centered, and not (like any decent contemporary academic philosopher) in hot pursuit of the truth. Rather he is in it only for himself and his own peace of mind. In fact he thinks he doesn't need the nepotistic system of the epigones for his research and even less so for his credibility. This in itself will be sufficient evidence for the average clear headed person to establish beyond doubt that he is a dangerous fanatic who will not hesitate to disturb the moronic harmony of the philosophical clerus. As a matter of fact, he has never really managed to get over his anti-authoritarian phase, only that his disdain has now shifted from an old generation of philosophers to his own generation, which has grown pretty old by now anyway. He is in desperate need of a fresh brain-alignment to get in touch with the doctrinal philosophy of the day, but, of course, like all people who live in their own world of thought, he stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the authority of the mediocracy.

Like Frege before him, he cherishes Leibniz' idea of a mathesis universalis. He does so despite the fact that already Hegel had dismissed it as an immature idea (and Heidegger even more so) and had made it very clear that philosophy can never borrow its method from an inferior discipline such as mathematics. He is unwilling to listen to the good advice of experienced Hegelians, to finish his mathematical studies and turn to Hegel interpretation. Even less does he acknowledge Heidegger's dictum that philosophical thinking manages only to attain an epigonal renaissance. In fact he thinks that the Ancient Greeks only provided an interesting beginning and that the actual development of a first philosophy (metaphysics) still lies ahead; like physics and logic had interesting starting points in Aristoteles' philosophy, but were far from fully developed theories. To make things even worse, he is interested in notions of purely mechanical reasoning (if this can be called "reasoning" at all) and where and when exactly undecidability appears on the scene. He thinks that even in so rudimentary a form of reasoning as that of mechanical calculating there is something that is at odds with itself and that this is sufficient to provide for a foundation of thought forms in the spirit of Hegel's idea of a speculative philosophy. He actually goes so far as to hope that his work will take metaphysics (in the form of speculative logic) out of the hands of philosophers and vest it in mathematics.

He has acquired some basic skills in mathematical logic in the late sixties and early seventies at the Mathematical Institute in Munich under Kurt Schütte. This enabled him to pursue the question of how to restrict classical logic in order to allow unrestricted abstraction with the result of realizing some time in 1977 that in the absence of contraction, cut elimination does not require an induction on the complexity of the cut formula and would therefore make allowance for consistently adding unrestricted abstraction. Despite otherwise lagging roughly 25 years behind the development in mathematical logic, he feels satisfied that the idea of building a type free system on the basis of a contraction free logic has now been endorsed in theoretical computer science, more specifically in the context of Jean-Yves Girard's approach to the problem of formulating a polytime logic.

The point of a type-free logic is the availability of self-reference (the fixed point property).

This brings us to his main obsession: self-reference. He is infatuated with self-reference to the point of playing with the reader's patience by responding to the question regarding his philosophical interest with the answer:
click here, to continue

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