Science Without Numbers caused a stir in philosophy on its original publication in 1980, with its bold nominalist approach to the ontology of mathematics and science. Hartry Field argues that we can explain the utility of mathematics without assuming it true. Part of the argument is that good mathematics has a special feature ("conservativeness") that allows it to be applied to "nominalistic" claims (roughly, those neutral to the existence of mathematical entities) in a way that generates nominalistic consequences more easily without generating any new ones. Field goes on to argue that we can axiomatize physical theories using nominalistic claims only, and that in fact this has advantages over the usual axiomatizations that are independent of nominalism. There has been much debate about the book since it first appeared. It is now reissued in a revised contains a substantial new preface giving the author's current views on the original book and the issues that were raised in the subsequent discussion of it.
One of the most striking features of mathematics is the fact that we are much more certain about the mathematical knowledge we have than about what mathematical knowledge is knowledge of. Are numbers, sets, functions and groups physical entities of some kind? Are they objectively existing objects in some non-physical, mathematical realm? Are they ideas that are present only in the mind? Or do mathematical truths not involve referents of any kind? It is these kinds of questions that have encouraged philosophers and mathematicians alike to focus their attention on issues in the philosophy of mathematics. Over the centuries a number of reasonably well-defined positions about the nature of mathematics have been developed and it is these positions (both historical and current) that are surveyed in the current volume. Traditional theories (Platonism, Aristotelianism, Kantianism), as well as dominant modern theories (logicism, formalism, constructivism, fictionalism, etc.), are all analyzed and evaluated. Leading-edge research in related fields (set theory, computability theory, probability theory, paraconsistency) is also discussed. The result is a handbook that not only provides a comprehensive overview of recent developments but that also serves as an indispensable resource for anyone wanting to learn about current developments in the philosophy of mathematics. -Comprehensive coverage of all main theories in the philosophy of mathematics -Clearly written expositions of fundamental ideas and concepts -Definitive discussions by leading researchers in the field -Summaries of leading-edge research in related fields (set theory, computability theory, probability theory, paraconsistency) are also included
Charles Parsons examines the notion of object, with the aim to navigate between nominalism, denying that distinctively mathematical objects exist, and forms of Platonism that postulate a transcendent realm of such objects. He introduces the central mathematical notion of structure and defends a version of the structuralist view of mathematical objects, according to which their existence is relative to a structure and they have no more of a 'nature' than that confers on them. Parsons also analyzes the concept of intuition and presents a conception of it distantly inspired by that of Kant, which describes a basic kind of access to abstract objects and an element of a first conception of the infinite.
A comprehensive collection of historical readings in the philosophy of mathematics and a selection of influential contemporary work, this much-needed introduction reveals the rich history of the subject. An Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mathematics: A Reader brings together an impressive collection of primary sources from ancient and modern philosophy. Arranged chronologically and featuring introductory overviews explaining technical terms, this accessible reader is easy-to-follow and unrivaled in its historical scope. With selections from key thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume and Kant, it connects the major ideas of the ancients with contemporary thinkers. A selection of recent texts from philosophers including Quine, Putnam, Field and Maddy offering insights into the current state of the discipline clearly illustrates the development of the subject. Presenting historical background essential to understanding contemporary trends and a survey of recent work, An Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mathematics: A Reader is required reading for undergraduates and graduate students studying the philosophy of mathematics and an invaluable source book for working researchers.
Hartry Field presents a selection of thirteen essays on a set of related topics at the foundations of philosophy; one essay is previously unpublished, and eight are accompanied by substantial new postscripts.Five of the essays are primarily about truth, meaning, and propositional attitudes, five are primarily about semantic indeterminacy and other kinds of 'factual defectiveness' in our discourse, and three are primarily about issues concerning objectivity, especially in mathematics and in epistemology. The essays on truth, meaning, and the attitudes show a development from a form of correspondence theory of truth and meaning to a more deflationist perspective.The next set of papers argue that a place must be made in semantics for the idea that there are questions about which there is no fact of the matter, and address the difficulties involved in making sense of this, both within a correspondence theory of truth and meaning, and within a deflationary theory. Two papers argue that there are questions in mathematics about which there is no fact of the mattter, and draw out implications of this for the nature of mathematics. And the final paper arguesfor a view of epistemology in which it is not a purely fact-stating enterprise.This influential work by a key figure in contemporary philosophy will reward the attention of any philosopher interested in language, epistemology, or mathematics.
Philosophy by Claire Ortiz Hill,Guillermo E. Rosado Haddock
Author: Claire Ortiz Hill,Guillermo E. Rosado Haddock
Publisher: Open Court Publishing
Most areas of philosopher Edmund Husserl’s thought have been explored, but his views on logic, mathematics, and semantics have been largely ignored. These essays offer an alternative to discussions of the philosophy of contemporary mathematics. The book covers areas of disagreement between Husserl and Gottlob Frege, the father of analytical philosophy, and explores new perspectives seen in their work.
The papers presented in this volume examine topics of central interest in contemporary philosophy of logic. They include reflections on the nature of logic and its relevance for philosophy today, and explore in depth developments in informal logic and the relation of informal to symbolic logic, mathematical metatheory and the limiting metatheorems, modal logic, many-valued logic, relevance and paraconsistent logic, free logics, extensional v. intensional logics, the logic of fiction, epistemic logic, formal logical and semantic paradoxes, the concept of truth, the formal theory of entailment, objectual and substitutional interpretation of the quantifiers, infinity and domain constraints, the Löwenheim-Skolem theorem and Skolem paradox, vagueness, modal realism v. actualism, counterfactuals and the logic of causation, applications of logic and mathematics to the physical sciences, logically possible worlds and counterpart semantics, and the legacy of Hilbert’s program and logicism. The handbook is meant to be both a compendium of new work in symbolic logic and an authoritative resource for students and researchers, a book to be consulted for specific information about recent developments in logic and to be read with pleasure for its technical acumen and philosophical insights. - Written by leading logicians and philosophers - Comprehensive authoritative coverage of all major areas of contemporary research in symbolic logic - Clear, in-depth expositions of technical detail - Progressive organization from general considerations to informal to symbolic logic to nonclassical logics - Presents current work in symbolic logic within a unified framework - Accessible to students, engaging for experts and professionals - Insightful philosophical discussions of all aspects of logic - Useful bibliographies in every chapter
1. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND The purpose of the book is to develop internal realism, the metaphysical-episte mological doctrine initiated by Hilary Putnam (Reason, Truth and History, "Introduction", Many Faces). In doing so I shall rely - sometimes quite heavily - on the notion of conceptual scheme. I shall use the notion in a somewhat idiosyncratic way, which, however, has some affinities with the ways the notion has been used during its history. So I shall start by sketching the history of the notion. This will provide some background, and it will also give opportunity to raise some of the most important problems I will have to solve in the later chapters. The story starts with Kant. Kant thought that the world as we know it, the world of tables, chairs and hippopotami, is constituted in part by the human mind. His cen tral argument relied on an analysis of space and time, and presupposed his famous doctrine that knowledge cannot extend beyond all possible experience. It is a central property of experience - he claimed - that it is structured spatially and temporally. However, for various reasons, space and time cannot be features of the world, as it is independently of our experience. So he concluded that they must be the forms of human sensibility, i. e. necessary ingredients of the way things appear to our senses.
According to platonists, entities such as numbers, sets, propositions and properties are abstract objects. But abstract objects lack causal powers and a location in space and time, so how could we ever come to know of the existence of such impotent and remote objects? In Knowledge, Cause, and Abstract Objects, Colin Cheyne presents the first systematic and detailed account of this epistemological objection to the platonist doctrine that abstract objects exist and can be known. Since mathematics has such a central role in the acquisition of scientific knowledge, he concentrates on mathematical platonism. He also concentrates on our knowledge of what exists, and argues for a causal constraint on such existential knowledge. Finally, he exposes the weaknesses of recent attempts by platonists to account for our supposed platonic knowledge. This book will be of particular interest to researchers and advanced students of epistemology and of the philosophy of mathematics and science. It will also be of interest to all philosophers with a general interest in metaphysics and ontology.
Do numbers, sets, and so forth, exist? What do mathematical statements mean? Are they literally true or false, or do they lack truth values altogether? Addressing questions that have attracted lively debate in recent years, Stewart Shapiro contends that standard realist and antirealist accounts of mathematics are both problematic. As Benacerraf first noted, we are confronted with the following powerful dilemma. The desired continuity between mathematical and, say, scientific language suggests realism, but realism in this context suggests seemingly intractable epistemic problems. As a way out of this dilemma, Shapiro articulates a structuralist approach. On this view, the subject matter of arithmetic, for example, is not a fixed domain of numbers independent of each other, but rather is the natural number structure, the pattern common to any system of objects that has an initial object and successor relation satisfying the induction principle. Using this framework, realism in mathematics can be preserved without troublesome epistemic consequences. Shapiro concludes by showing how a structuralist approach can be applied to wider philosophical questions such as the nature of an "object" and the Quinean nature of ontological commitment. Clear, compelling, and tautly argued, Shapiro's work, noteworthy both in its attempt to develop a full-length structuralist approach to mathematics and to trace its emergence in the history of mathematics, will be of deep interest to both philosophers and mathematicians.
A Companion to Relativism presents original contributions from leading scholars that address the latest thinking on the role of relativism in the philosophy of language, epistemology, ethics, philosophy of science, logic, and metaphysics. Features original contributions from many of the leading figures working on various aspects of relativism Presents a substantial, broad range of current thinking about relativism Addresses relativism from many of the major subfields of philosophy, including philosophy of language, epistemology, ethics, philosophy of science, logic, and metaphysics
This historically-informed critical assessment of Dummett's account of abstract objects, examines in detail some of the Fregean presuppositions of Dummett's account whilst also engaging with phenomenological approaches and recent work on the problem of abstract entities.
Structural realism has rapidly gained in popularity in recent years, but it has splintered into many distinct denominations, often underpinned by diverse motivations. There is, no monolithic position known as ‘structural realism,’ but there is a general convergence on the idea that a central role is to be played by relational aspects over object-based aspects of ontology. What becomes of causality in a world without fundamental objects? In this book, the foremost authorities on structural realism attempt to answer this and related questions: ‘what is structure?’ and ‘what is an object?’ Also featured are the most recent advances in structural realism, including the intersection of mathematical structuralism and structural realism, and the latest treatments of laws and modality in the context of structural realism. The book will be of interest to philosophers of science, philosophers of physics, metaphysicians, and those interested in foundational aspects of science.
This volume covers a wide range of topics in the most recent debates in the philosophy of mathematics, and is dedicated to how semantic, epistemological, ontological and logical issues interact in the attempt to give a satisfactory picture of mathematical knowledge. The essays collected here explore the semantic and epistemic problems raised by different kinds of mathematical objects, by their characterization in terms of axiomatic theories, and by the objectivity of both pure and applied mathematics. They investigate controversial aspects of contemporary theories such as neo-logicist abstractionism, structuralism, or multiversism about sets, by discussing different conceptions of mathematical realism and rival relativistic views on the mathematical universe. They consider fundamental philosophical notions such as set, cardinal number, truth, ground, finiteness and infinity, examining how their informal conceptions can best be captured in formal theories. The philosophy of mathematics is an extremely lively field of inquiry, with extensive reaches in disciplines such as logic and philosophy of logic, semantics, ontology, epistemology, cognitive sciences, as well as history and philosophy of mathematics and science. By bringing together well-known scholars and younger researchers, the essays in this collection – prompted by the meetings of the Italian Network for the Philosophy of Mathematics (FilMat) – show how much valuable research is currently being pursued in this area, and how many roads ahead are still open for promising solutions to long-standing philosophical concerns. Promoted by the Italian Network for the Philosophy of Mathematics – FilMat
Mathematicians tend to think of themselves as scientists investigating the features of real mathematical things, and the wildly successful application of mathematics in the physical sciences reinforces this picture of mathematics as an objective study. For philosophers, however, this realism about mathematics raises serious questions: What are mathematical things? Where are they? How do we know about them? Offering a scrupulously fair treatment of both mathematical and philosophical concerns, Penelope Maddy here delineates and defends a novel version of mathematical realism. She answers the traditional questions and poses a challenging new one, refocusing philosophical attention on the pressing foundational issues of contemporary mathematics.
The Philosophy of Mathematics Today gives a panorama of the best current work in this lively field, through twenty essays specially written for this collection by leading figures. The topics include indeterminacy, logical consequence, mathematical methodology, abstraction, and both Hilbert's and Frege's foundational programmes. The collection will be an important source for research in the philosophy of mathematics for years to come.