Of Numbers and Electrons

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (2pt2):133-181 (2010)
According to a tradition stemming from Quine and Putnam, we have the same broadly inductive reason for believing in numbers as we have for believing in electrons: certain theories that entail that there are numbers are better, qua explanations of our evidence, than any theories that do not. This paper investigates how modal theories of the form ‘Possibly, the concrete world is just as it in fact is and T’ and ‘Necessarily, if standard mathematics is true and the concrete world is just as it in fact is, then T’ bear on this claim. It concludes that, while analogies with theories that attempt to eliminate unobservable concrete entities provide good reason to regard theories of the former sort as explanatorily bad, this reason does not apply to theories of the latter sort
Keywords Nominalism  Explanation  Indispensability  Numbers
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9264.2010.00282.x
 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: 16,667
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

View all 37 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Cian Dorr (2011). Physical Geometry and Fundamental Metaphysics. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (1pt1):135-159.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

123 ( #21,522 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

12 ( #56,985 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

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