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In the philosophy of mathematics, finitism is an extreme form of constructivism, according to which a mathematical object does not exist unless it can be constructed from natural numbers in a finite number of steps. (Most constructivists, in contrast, allow a countably infinite number of steps.) The most famous proponent of finitism was Leopold Kronecker, who said:

"God created the natural numbers, all else is the work of man."

Although most modern constructivists take a weaker view, they can trace the origins of constructivism back to Kronecker's finitist work.

Even stronger than finitism is ultrafinitism (also known as ultraintuitionism), associated primarily with Alexander Esenin-Volpin .

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45