David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Erkenntnis 68 (3):359 - 379 (2008)
Recent years have seen a growing acknowledgement within the mathematical community that mathematics is cognitively/socially constructed. Yet to anyone doing mathematics, it seems totally objective. The sensation in pursuing mathematical research is of discovering prior (eternal) truths about an external (abstract) world. Although the community can and does decide which topics to pursue and which axioms to adopt, neither an individual mathematician nor the entire community can choose whether a particular mathematical statement is true or false, based on the given axioms. Moreover, all the evidence suggests that all practitioners work with the same ontology. (My number 7 is exactly the same as yours.) How can we reconcile the notion that people construct mathematics, with this apparent choice-free, predetermined objectivity? I believe the answer is to be found by examining what mathematical thinking is (as a mental activity) and the way the human brain acquired the capacity for mathematical thinking.
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References found in this work BETA
Derek Bickerton (1996). Language and Human Behavior. Seattle: University Washington Press.
George Lakoff (1980/2003). Metaphors We Live By. University of Chicago Press.
Citations of this work BETA
J. M. Dieterle (2010). Social Construction in the Philosophy of Mathematics: A Critical Evaluation of Julian Cole's Theory. Philosophia Mathematica 18 (3):311-328.
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