Judith Povilus


There has been a perennial return in the history of thought to the dialectic of the one and the many, and so the foundations of mathematics as developed through time could not but reflect this same dilemma. This article, as its point of departure, looks at the meaning of “one” in a few authors of Ancient and Scholastic thought. Then the author turns to the unique event of the Pact of unity between Chiara Lubich and Igino Giordani. She goes on from there to examine the abstract pattern of “oneness” which emerges, utilizing some of the categories offered by modern mathematics, from set theory to mereology. The One resulting from the Pact turns out to be a concept that has a rational underpinning, since the conceptual instruments for its formal description can be found in the foundations of mathematics. On the other hand, the author argues that familiarity with the structure of the One resulting from the Pact can be a significant factor in the development of a promising new axiomatic framework.