David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2):117-125 (2003)
This article is a brief formulation of a radical thesis. We start with the formalist doctrine that mathematical objects have no meanings; we have marks and rules governing how these marks can be combined. That's all. Then I go further by arguing that the signs of a formal system of mathematics should be considered as physical objects, and the formal operations as physical processes. The rules of the formal operations are or can be expressed in terms of the laws of physics governing these processes. In accordance with the physicalist understanding of mind, this is true even if the operations in question are executed in the head. A truth obtained through (mathematical) reasoning is, therefore, an observed outcome of a neuro-physiological (or other physical) experiment. Consequently, deduction is nothing but a particular case of induction
|Keywords||physicalism philosophy of mathematics formalism|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
Mark Steiner (1998). The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem. Harvard University Press.
A. J. Ayer (1952). Language, Truth and Logic. 2nd edition. Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 142:256-256.
Thomas Tymoczko (1979). The Four-Color Problem and its Philosophical Significance. Journal of Philosophy 76 (2):57-83.
Citations of this work BETA
Ferenc Csatari (2012). Some Remarks on the Physicalist Account of Mathematics. Open Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):165.
Similar books and articles
Jill North (2009). The “Structure” of Physics. Journal of Philosophy 106 (2):57-88.
Phil Corkum (2012). Aristotle on Mathematical Truth. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (6):1057-1076.
Mary Leng (2010). Mathematics and Reality. OUP Oxford.
John Bigelow (1988). The Reality of Numbers: A Physicalist's Philosophy of Mathematics. Oxford University Press.
László E. Szabó (2003). Formal Systems as Physical Objects: A Physicalist Account of Mathematical Truth. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2):117 – 125.
Added to index2010-08-10
Total downloads13 ( #223,423 of 1,781,359 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #295,021 of 1,781,359 )
How can I increase my downloads?