David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (2):377-396 (2005)
Naturalism in the philosophy of mathematics is the view that philosophy cannot legitimately gainsay mathematics. I distinguish between reinterpretation and reconstruction naturalism: the former states that philosophy cannot legitimately sanction a reinterpretation of mathematics (i.e. an interpretation different from the standard one); the latter that philosophy cannot legitimately change standard mathematics (as opposed to its interpretation). I begin by showing that neither form of naturalism is self-refuting. I then focus on reinterpretation naturalism, which comes in two forms, and examine the only available argument for it. I argue that this argument, the so-called Failure Argument, itself fails. My overall conclusion is that although there is no self-refutation argument against reinterpretation naturalism, there are as yet no good reasons to accept it. Naturalism in mathematics The consistency of mathematical naturalism The failure argument Objections to the failure argument Philosophy as the default.
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