Deflating Existential Commitment: A Case for Nominalism

OUP USA (2004)
Abstract
If we must take mathematical statements to be true, must we also believe in the existence of abstract invisible mathematical objects accessible only by the power of pure thought? Jody Azzouni says no, and he claims that the way to escape such commitments is to accept (as an essential part of scientific doctrine) true statements which are about objects that don't exist in any sense at all. Azzouni illustrates what the metaphysical landscape looks like once we avoid a militant Realism which forces our commitment to anything that our theories quantify over. Escaping metaphysical straitjackets (such as the correspondence theory of truth), while retaining the insight that some truths are about objects that do exist, Azzouni says that we can sort scientifically-given objects into two categories: ones which exist, and to which we forge instrumental access in order to learn their properties, and ones which do not, that is, which are made up in exactly the same sense that fictional objects are. He offers as a case study a small portion of Newtonian physics, and one result of his classification of its ontological commitments, is that it does not commit us to absolute space and time.
Keywords nominalism   mathematics   platonism   metaphysics   toread
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book $2.45 used (98% off)   $38.22 new (60% off)   $90.25 direct from Amazon (5% off)    Amazon page
ISBN(s) 9780195159882   0195159888  
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,316
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Jamin Asay (2012). A Truthmaking Account of Realism and Anti-Realism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (3):373-394.

View all 20 citations

Similar books and articles
Władysław Krajewski (1992). Questions of the Objects of Knowledge and Types of Realism. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 6 (3):205-213.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-01-31

Total downloads

14 ( #108,057 of 1,096,455 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #238,630 of 1,096,455 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.