Evidential Holism and Indispensability Arguments

Erkenntnis 76 (2):263-278 (2012)
Abstract
The indispensability argument is a method for showing that abstract mathematical objects exist (call this mathematical Platonism). Various versions of this argument have been proposed (§1). Lately, commentators seem to have agreed that a holistic indispensability argument (§2) will not work, and that an explanatory indispensability argument is the best candidate. In this paper I argue that the dominant reasons for rejecting the holistic indispensability argument are mistaken. This is largely due to an overestimation of the consequences that follow from evidential holism. Nevertheless, the holistic indispensability argument should be rejected, but for a different reason (§3)—in order that an indispensability argument relying on holism can work, it must invoke an unmotivated version of evidential holism. Such an argument will be unsound. Correcting the argument with a proper construal of evidential holism means that it can no longer deliver mathematical Platonism as a conclusion: such an argument for Platonism will be invalid. I then show how the reasons for rejecting the holistic indispensability argument importantly constrain what kind of account of explanation will be permissible in explanatory versions (§4)
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
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: 10,322
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
Alan Baker (2009). Mathematical Explanation in Science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):611-633.

View all 25 references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Woosuk Park (2008). Isn't the Indispensability Argument Necessarily Analogical? Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 41:13-18.
Lieven Decock (2002). Quine's Weak and Strong Indispensability Argument. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 33 (2):231-250.
Jacob Busch (2011). Indispensability and Holism. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 42 (1):47-59.
Feng Ye (2011). Naturalism and Abstract Entities. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (2):129-146.
Mark Colyvan (1998). In Defence of Indispensability. Philosophia Mathematica 6 (1):39-62.
Russell Marcus (2007). Numbers Without Science. Dissertation, The Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-05-17

Total downloads

36 ( #45,287 of 1,096,498 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #27,374 of 1,096,498 )

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.