Rips et al. consider whether representations of individual objects or analog magnitudes are building blocks for the concept natural number. We argue for a third core capacity – the ability to bind representations of individuals into sets. However, even with this addition to the list of starting materials, we agree that a significant acquisition story is needed to capture natural number.
Studies by Gardiner and colleagues connecting musical pitch and arithmetic learning support Rips et al.'s proposal that natural number concepts are constructed on a base of innate abilities. Our evidence suggests that innate ability concerning sequence ( or BSC) is fundamental. Mathematical engagement relating number to BSC does not develop automatically, but, rather, should be encouraged through teaching.
What is central to the progression of a sequence is the idea of succession, which is fundamentally a temporal notion. In Kant's ontology numbers are not objects but rules (schemata) for representing the magnitude of a quantum. The magnitude of a discrete quantum 11...11 is determined by a counting procedure, an operation which can be understood as a mapping from the ordinals to the cardinals. All empirical models for numbers isomorphic to 11...11 must conform to the transcendental determination of time-order. (...) Kant's transcendental model for number entails a procedural semantics in which the semantic value of the number-concept is defined in terms of temporal procedures. A number is constructible if and only if it can be schematized in a procedural form. This representability condition explains how an arbitrarily large number is representable and why Kant thinks that arithmetical statements are synthetic and not analytic. (shrink)
We describe recent developments in research on mathematical practice and cognition and outline the nine contributions in this special issue of topiCS. We divide these contributions into those that address (a) mathematical reasoning: patterns, levels, and evaluation; (b) mathematical concepts: evolution and meaning; and (c) the numberconcept: representation and processing.
Many experiments with infants suggest that they possess quantitative abilities, and many experimentalists believe that these abilities set the stage for later mathematics: natural numbers and arithmetic. However, the connection between these early and later skills is far from obvious. We evaluate two possible routes to mathematics and argue that neither is sufficient: (1) We first sketch what we think is the most likely model for infant abilities in this domain, and we examine proposals for extrapolating the natural number (...)concept from these beginnings. Proposals for arriving at natural number by (empirical) induction presuppose the mathematical concepts they seek to explain. Moreover, standard experimental tests for children's understanding of number terms do not necessarily tap these concepts. (2) True concepts of number do appear, however, when children are able to understand generalizations over all numbers; for example, the principle of additive commutativity (a+b=b+a). Theories of how children learn such principles usually rely on a process of mapping from physical object groupings. But both experimental results and theoretical considerations imply that direct mapping is insufficient for acquiring these principles. We suggest instead that children may arrive at natural numbers and arithmetic in a more top-down way, by constructing mathematical schemas. (shrink)
This paper argues that Carnap both did not view and should not have viewed Frege's project in the foundations of mathematics as misguided metaphysics. The reason for this is that Frege's project was to give an explication of number in a very Carnapian sense — something that was not lost on Carnap. Furthermore, Frege gives pragmatic justification for the basic features of his system, especially where there are ontological considerations. It will be argued that even on the question of (...) the independent existence of abstract objects, Frege and Carnap held remarkably similar views. I close with a discussion of why, despite all this, Frege would not accept the principle of tolerance. (shrink)
"With exceptional clarity, but with no evasion of essential ideas, the author outlines the fundamental structure of mathematics."--Carl B. Boyer, Brooklyn College. This enlightening survey of mathematical concept formation holds a natural appeal to philosophically minded readers, and no formal training in mathematics is necessary to appreciate its clear exposition. Contents include examinations of arithmetic and geometry; the rigorous construction of the theory of integers; the rational numbers and their foundation in arithmetic; and the rigorous construction of elementary arithmetic. (...) Advanced topics encompass the principle of complete induction; the limit and point of accumulation; operating with sequences and differential quotient; remarkable curves; real numbers and ultrareal numbers; and complex and hypercomplex numbers. 1959 ed. 27 Figures. Index. (shrink)
The paper examines the roots of Husserlian phenomenology in Weierstrass's approach to analysis. After elaborating on Weierstrass's programme of arithmetization of analysis, the paper examines Husserl's Philosophy of Arithmetic as an attempt to provide foundations to analysis. The Philosophy of Arithmetic consists of two parts; the first discusses authentic arithmetic and the second symbolic arithmetic. Husserl's novelty is to use Brentanian descriptive analysis to clarify the fundamental concepts of arithmetic in the first part. In the second part, he founds the (...) symbolic extension of the authentically given arithmetic with stepwise symbolic operations. In the process of doing so, Husserl comes close to defining the modern concept of computability. The paper concludes with a brief comparison between Husserl and Frege. While Frege chose to subject arithmetic to logical analysis, Husserl wants to clarify arithmetic as it is given to us. Both engage in a kind of analysis, but while Frege analyses within Begriffsschrift, Husserl analyses our experiences. The difference in their methods of analysis is what ultimately grows into two separate schools in philosophy in the 20th century. (shrink)
There can be no doubt about the value of Frege's contributions to the philosophy of mathematics. First, he invented quantification theory and this was the first step toward making precise the notion of a purely logical deduction. Secondly, he was the first to publish a logical analysis of the ancestral R* of a relation R, which yields a definition of R* in second-order logic.1 Only a narrow and arid conception of philosophy would exclude these two achievements. Thirdly and very importantly, (...) the discussion in §§58-60 of the G r u n d l a g e n defends a conception of mathematical existence, to be found in Cantor (1883) and later in the writings of Dedekind and Hilbert, by basing it upon considerations about meaning which have general application, outside mathematics.2.. (shrink)
The failure of current bootstrapping accounts to explain the emergence of the concept of natural numbers does not entail that no link exists between intuitive and formal number concepts. The epidemiology of representations allows us to explain similarities between intuitive and formal number concepts without requiring that the latter are directly constructed from the former.
Number concepts must support arithmetic inference. Using this principle, it can be argued that the integer concept of exactly ONE is a necessary part of the psychological foundations of number, as is the notion of the exact equality - that is, perfect substitutability. The inability to support reasoning involving exact equality is a shortcoming in current theories about the development of numerical reasoning. A simple innate basis for the natural number concepts can be proposed that embodies (...) the arithmetic principle, supports exact equality and also enables computational compatibility with real- or rational-valued mental magnitudes. (shrink)
Christopher Peacocke, in A Study of Concepts, motivates his account of possession conditions for concepts by means of an alleged parallel with the conditions under which numbers are abstracted to give the numerosity of a predicate. There are, however, logical mistakes in Peacocke.
Early quantitative skills cannot be directly extended to provide the richness, precision, and sophistication of the concept of natural number. These skills must interact with top-down mathematical schemas, which can be explained by bodily grounded everyday mechanisms for abstraction and imagination (e.g., conceptual metaphor, blending) that are both biologically plausible and culturally shaped (established beyond the child's mind).