Journal for General Philosophy of Science 33 (2):231-250 (2002)
|Abstract||Quine's views on indispensability arguments in mathematics are scrutinised. A weak indispensability argument is distinguished from a strong indispensability thesis. The weak argument is the combination of the criterion of ontological commitment, holism and a mild naturalism. It is used to refute nominalism. Quine's strong indispensability thesis claims that one should consider all and only the mathematical entities that are really indispensable. Quine has little support for this thesis. This is even clearer if one takes into account Maddy's critique of Quine's strong indispensability thesis. Maddy's critique does not refute Quine's weak indispensability argument. We are left with a weak and almost unassailable indispensability argument.|
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