Person: Scholz, Heinrich
Heinrich Scholz was a German logician, philosopher and theologian.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Scholz studied theology with Adolf von Harnack at the University of Berlin and, in 1911, wrote an Habilitation thesis on the philosophy of religion and systematic theology.
- In 1917 Scholz was appointed to the chair of Philosophy of Religion at the University of Breslau.
- This marked an important change in the direction of Scholz's research for at this time his interests turned towards mathematical logic.
- This work persuaded Scholz of the importance of mathematics for philosophy, although he had at that time no deeper knowledge of this science.
- Toeplitz had been an extraordinary professor of mathematics at Kiel in 1913 and had become an ordinary professor in the year before Scholz arrived in Kiel.
- Although researching into Hilbert spaces and spectral theory, Toeplitz had broad mathematical interests and encouraged Scholz's growing passion for foundational questions in mathematics.
- Of course for someone like Scholz, who had trained in theology and then philosophy, mathematical logic involved a deep understanding of mathematics which he had never studied.
- In 1928 Scholz left Kiel and moved to Münster where he was initially appointed as Professor of Philosophy.
- Heinrich Behnke had been appointed as an ordinary professor of mathematics at Münster in 1927 and, following Scholz's arrival, the two became good friends.
- Right from the time he arrived at Münster, Scholz worked towards building a school of mathematical logic there.
- Also in 1931 Scholz published the article Über das Cogito, ergo sum Ⓣ(On 'Cogito, ergo sum') which, as the title indicates, examines Descartes' Cogito argument.
- In 1940 Scholz published the 55-page pamphlet Was Ist Philosophie?
- Apparently his view is that foundational research must first attain a more advanced stage, and at the same time the minds of philosophers must, in the school of mathematical logic and axiomatics, be turned to the spirit of clearness and precision - whose compatibility with philosophical profundity is stressed by Scholz in opposition to a frequent opinion - before a valuable speculative synthesis can be hoped for.
- As we indicated above, Scholz's aim was to establish a world centre of mathematical logic at Münster.
- Scholz made an important step in that direction when he obtained Frege's estate for Münster in 1935.
- In 1938 Scholz's professorship in Philosophy had its title changed to a professorship in the Philosophy of Mathematics and Science.
- The rise to power of the Nazis in Germany was, at first, pleasing to Scholz.
- In some ways the Nazi laws against the Jews helped Scholz establish Münster as an important centre for logic since the leading researchers in the other centres of Berlin and Göttingen were forced out.
- However, Scholz cared deeply about his colleagues and soon got himself into trouble by trying to help those facing cruel persecution by the Nazis.
- On 14 March 1940, Scholz sent a petition to the education department in the occupied region of Poland seeking Salamucha's release.
- In October of that year Scholz received a letter from the Education Minister telling him in no uncertain terms that his petition had "injured the national honour" and the minister expressed his "sharpest disapproval" and told Scholz that he was forbidden from sending any further petitions unless they had the minister's approval.
- Despite the warning Scholz had received from the Education Minister he continued to try to help those in difficulty.
- Scholz tried to assist them in making contact.
- However, Scholz was able to play the system to the advantage of mathematical logic by keeping on good terms with Nazis like Bieberbach.
- Bieberbach asked Scholz to write an article for Deutsche Mathematik (Bieberbach's racially oriented journal) to answer the attacks on formalism in Steck's book.
- However, perhaps exactly for this reason he wanted to make sure that Hilbert was not considered "Jewish." Scholz wrote What does formalised study of the foundations of mathematics aim at?
- Scholz's connections with Bieberbach had led earlier to funds being provided for a series of monographs on mathematical logic which had started in 1937.
- During the war years Scholz published the book Metaphysik als strenge Wissenschaft Ⓣ(Metaphysics as rigorous science) (1941) and a number of articles such as Leibniz und die mathematische Grundlagenforschung Ⓣ(Leibniz and basic mathematical research) (1942), Was will die formalisierte Grundlagenforschung?
- Scholz remained as head of the Institute for Mathematical Logic and Foundational Research at Münster until he retired in 1952.
- Gisbert Hasenjaeger whose thesis had been supervised by Scholtz, produced a book Grundzüge der mathematischen Logik Ⓣ(Principles of mathematical logic) in 1961 which was jointly authored with Scholz despite being published five years after Scholz's death.
- Scholz was survived by his second wife, Erna.
Born 17 December 1884, Berlin, Germany. Died 30 December 1956, Münster, Germany.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive