In his book 'Wittgenstein on the foundations of Mathematics', Crispin Wright notes that remarkably little has been done to provide an unpictorial, substantial account of what mathematical platoninism comes to. Wright proposes to investigate whether there is not some more substantial doctrine than the familiar images underpinning the platonist view. He begins with the suggestion that the essential element in the platonist claim is that mathematical truth is objective. Although he does not demarcate them as such, Wright proposes (...) several different tests for objectivity. The paper finds problems with each of these tests. (shrink)
Since Benacerraf’s “Mathematical Truth” a number of epistemological challenges have been launched against mathematicalplatonism. I first argue that these challenges fail because they unduely assimilate mathematics to empirical science. Then I develop an improved challenge which is immune to this criticism. Very roughly, what I demand is an account of how people’s mathematical beliefs are responsive to the truth of these beliefs. Finally I argue that if we employ a semantic truth-predicate rather than just a (...) deflationary one, there surprisingly turns out to be logical space for a response to the improved challenge where no such space appeared to exist. (shrink)
The expression 'platonism in mathematics' or 'mathematicalplatonism' is familiar in the philosophy of mathematics at least since the use Paul Bernays made of it in his paper of 1934, 'Sur le Platonisme dans les Mathématiques'. But he was not the first to point out the similarities between the conception of the defenders of mathematical realism and the ideas of Plato. Poincaré had already stressed the 'platonistic' orientation of the mathematicians he called'Cantorian', as opposed to those (...) who (like himself) were 'pragmatist' ones. I examine in this paper some very perplexing aspects of the use which is made at that time of a number of concepts, particularly 'idealism' (which generally designates what we would call 'mathematical realism') and 'empiricism' (which can designate almost any form of antirealism, even if, like for example intuitionism, it is not empiricist at all). There are, of course, historical reasons that may explain why it was for a time so easy and natural to use the words and the concepts in a way that may seem now very strange and to treat as if they were equivalent the two oppositions: realism/antirealism and idealism/empiricism. (shrink)
The expression 'platonism in mathematics' or 'mathematicalplatonism' is familiar in the philosophy of mathematics at least since the use Paul Bernays made of it in his paper of 1934, 'Sur le Platonisme dans les Math?matiques'. But he was not the first to point out the similarities between the conception of the defenders of mathematical realism and the ideas of Plato. Poincar? had already stressed the 'platonistic' orientation of the mathematicians he called 'Cantorian', as opposed to (...) those who (like himself) were 'pragmatist' ones. I examine in this paper some very perplexing aspects of the use which is made at that time of a number of concepts, particularly 'idealism' (which generally designates what we would call 'mathematical realism') and 'empiricism' (which can designate almost any form of antirealism, even if, like for example intuitionism, it is not empiricist at all). There are, of course, historical reasons that may explain why it was for a time so easy and natural to use the words and the concepts in a way that may seem now very strange and to treat as if they were equivalent the two oppositions: realism/antirealism and idealism/empiricism. (shrink)
In his Realism, Mathematics, and Modality, Hartry Field attempted to revitalize the epistemological case against mathematical platontism by challenging mathematical platonists to explain how we could be epistemically reliable with regard to the abstract objects of mathematics. Field suggested that the seeming impossibility of providing such an explanation tends to undermine belief in the existence of abstract mathematical objects regardless of whatever reason we have for believing in their existence. After more than two decades, Field’s explanatory challenge (...) remains among the best available motivations for mathematical nominalism. This paper argues that Field’s explanatory challenge misidentifies the central epistemological problem facing mathematicalplatonism. Contrary to Field’s suggestion, inexplicability of epistemic reliability does not act as an epistemic defeater. The failure to explain our epistemic reliability with respect to the existence and properties of abstract mathematical objects is simply one aspect of a broader failure to establish that we are epistemically reliable with respect to abstract mathematical objects in the first place. Ultimately, it is this broader failure that is the source of mathematicalplatonism’s real epistemological problems. (shrink)
Platonism about mathematics (or mathematicalplatonism) is the metaphysical view that there are abstract mathematical objects whose existence is independent of us and our language, thought, and practices. In this survey article, the view is clarified and distinguished from some related views, and arguments for and against the view are discussed.
Mathematical explanation -- What is naturalism? -- Perception, practice, and ideal agents: Kitcher's naturalism -- Just metaphor?: Lakoff's language -- Seeing with the mind's eye: the Platonist alternative -- Semi-naturalists and reluctant realists -- A life of its own?: Maddy and mathematical autonomy.
Mathematics is about numbers, sets, functions, etc. and, according to one prominent view, these are abstract entities lacking causal powers and spatio-temporal location. If this is so, then it is a puzzle how we come to have knowledge of such remote entities. One suggestion is intuition. But `intuition' covers a range of notions. This paper identifies and examines those varieties of intuition which are most likely to play a role in the acquisition of our mathematical knowledge, and argues that (...) none of them, singly or in combination, can plausibly account for knowledge of abstract entities. (shrink)
In this paper, I challenge those interpretations of Frege that reinforce the view that his talk of grasping thoughts about abstract objects is consistent with Russell's notion of acquaintance with universals and with GÃ¶del's contention that we possess a faculty of mathematical perception capable of perceiving the objects of set theory. Here I argue the case that Frege is not an epistemological Platonist in the sense in which GÃ¶del is one. The contention advanced is that GÃ¶del bases his (...) class='Hi'>Platonism on a literal comparison between mathematical intuition and physical perception. He concludes that since we accept sense perception as a source of empirical knowledge, then we similarly should posit a faculty of mathematical intuition to serve as the source of mathematical knowledge. Unlike GÃ¶del, Frege does not posit a faculty of mathematical intuition. Frege talks instead about grasping thoughts about abstract objects. However, despite his hostility to metaphor, he uses the notion of âgraspingâ as a strategic metaphor to model his notion of thinking, i.e., to underscore that it is only by logically manipulating the cognitive content of mathematical propositions that we can obtain mathematical knowledge. Thus, he construes âgraspingâ more as theoretical activity than as a kind of inner mental âseeingâ. (shrink)
Two philosophical theories, mathematicalPlatonism and nominalism, are the background of six dialogues in this book. There are five characters in these dialogues: three are nominalists; the fourth is a Platonist; the main character is somewhat skeptical on most issues in the philosophy of mathematics, and is particularly skeptical regarding the two background theories.
In this book, Balaguer demonstrates that there are no good arguments for or against mathematicalplatonism. He does this by establishing that both platonism and anti-platonism are defensible views. Introducing a form of platonism ("full-blooded platonism") that solves all problems traditionally associated with the view, he proceeds to defend anti-platonism (in particular, mathematical fictionalism) against various attacks, most notably the Quine-Putnam indispensability attack. He concludes by arguing that it is not simply that (...) we do not currently have any good argument for or against platonism, but that we could never have such an argument and, indeed, that there is no fact of the matter as to whether platonism is correct. (shrink)
The literature on mathematics suggests that intuition plays a role in it as a ground of belief. This article explores the nature of intuition as it occurs in mathematical thinking. Section 1 suggests that intuitions should be understood by analogy with perceptions. Section 2 explains what fleshing out such an analogy requires. Section 3 discusses Kantian ways of fleshing it out. Section 4 discusses Platonist ways of fleshing it out. Section 5 sketches a proposal for resolving the main problem (...) facing Platonists—the problem of explaining how our experiences make contact with mathematical reality. (shrink)
This paper considers two strategies for undermining indispensability arguments for mathematicalPlatonism. We defend one strategy (the Trivial Strategy) against a criticism by Joseph Melia. In particular, we argue that the key example Melia uses against the Trivial Strategy fails. We then criticize Melia’s chosen strategy (the Weaseling Strategy.) The Weaseling Strategy attempts to show that it is not always inconsistent or irrational knowingly to assert p and deny an implication of p . We argue that Melia’s case (...) for this strategy fails. (shrink)
For over thirty years I have argued that all branches of science and scholarship would have both their intellectual and humanitarian value enhanced if pursued in accordance with the edicts of wisdom-inquiry rather than knowledge-inquiry. I argue that this is true of mathematics. Viewed from the perspective of knowledge-inquiry, mathematics confronts us with two fundamental problems. (1) How can mathematics be held to be a branch of knowledge, in view of the difficulties that view engenders? What could mathematics be knowledge (...) about? (2) How do we distinguish significant from insignificant mathematics? This is a fundamental philosophical problem concerning the nature of mathematics. But it is also a practical problem concerning mathematics itself. In the absence of the solution to the problem, there is the danger that genuinely significant mathematics will be lost among the unchecked growth of a mass of insignificant mathematics. This second problem cannot, it would seem, be solved granted knowledge-inquiry. For, in order to solve the problem, mathematics needs to be related to values, but this is, it seems, prohibited by knowledge-inquiry because it could only lead to the subversion of mathematical rigour. Both problems are solved, however, when mathematics is viewed from the perspective of wisdom-inquiry. (1) Mathematics is not a branch of knowledge. It is a body of systematized, unified and inter-connected problem-solving methods, a body of problematic possibilities. (2) A piece of mathematics is significant if (a) it links up to the interconnected body of existing mathematics, ideally in such a way that some problems difficult to solve in other branches become much easier to solve when translated into the piece of mathematics in question; (b) it has fruitful applications for (other) worthwhile human endeavours. If ever the revolution from knowledge to wisdom occurs, I would hope wisdom mathematics would flourish, the nature of mathematics would become much more transparent, more pupils and students would come to appreciate the fascination of mathematics, and it would be easier to discern what is genuinely significant in mathematics (something that baffled even Einstein). As a result of clarifying what should count as significant, the pursuit of wisdom mathematics might even lead to the development of significant new mathematics. (shrink)
On the face of it, platonism seems very far removed from the scientific world view that dominates our age. Nevertheless many philosophers and mathematicians believe that modern mathematics requires some form of platonism. The defense of mathematicalplatonism that is both most direct and has been most influential in the analytic tradition in philosophy derives from the German logician-philosopher Gottlob Frege (1848-1925).2 I will therefore refer to it as Frege’s argument. This argument is part of the (...) background of any contemporary discussion of mathematicalplatonism. (shrink)
According to Quine’s indispensability argument, we ought to believe in just those mathematical entities that we quantify over in our best scientific theories. Quine’s criterion of ontological commitment is part of the standard indispensability argument. However, we suggest that a new indispensability argument can be run using Armstrong’s criterion of ontological commitment rather than Quine’s. According to Armstrong’s criterion, ‘to be is to be a truthmaker (or part of one)’. We supplement this criterion with our own brand of metaphysics, (...) 'Aristotelian (...) realism', in order to identify the truthmakers of mathematics. We consider in particular as a case study the indispensability to physics of real analysis (the theory of the real numbers). We conclude that it is possible to run an indispensability argument without Quinean baggage. (shrink)
This paper argues that it is scientific realists who should be most concerned about the issue of Platonism and anti-Platonism in mathematics. If one is merely interested in accounting for the practice of pure mathematics, it is unlikely that a story about the ontology of mathematical theories will be essential to such an account. The question of mathematical ontology comes to the fore, however, once one considers our scientific theories. Given that those theories include amongst their (...) laws assertions that imply the existence of mathematical objects, scientific realism, when construed as a claim about the truth or approximate truth of our scientific theories, implies mathematicalPlatonism. However, a standard argument for scientific realism, the 'no miracles' argument, falls short of establishing mathematicalPlatonism. As a result, this argument cannot establish scientific realism as it is usually defined, but only some weaker position. Scientific 'realists' should therefore either redefine their position as a claim about the existence of unobservable physical objects, or alternatively look for an argument for their position that does establish mathematicalPlatonism. (shrink)
A response is given here to Benacerraf's 1973 argument that mathematicalplatonism is incompatible with a naturalistic epistemology. Unlike almost all previous platonist responses to Benacerraf, the response given here is positive rather than negative; that is, rather than trying to find a problem with Benacerraf's argument, I accept his challenge and meet it head on by constructing an epistemology of abstract (i.e., aspatial and atemporal) mathematical objects. Thus, I show that spatio-temporal creatures like ourselves can attain (...) knowledge about mathematical objects by simply explaininghow they can do this. My argument is based upon the adoption of a particular version of platonism — full-blooded platonism — which asserts that any mathematical object which possiblycould exist actuallydoes exist. (shrink)
It is argued here that mathematical objects cannot be simultaneously abstract and perceptible. Thus, naturalized versions of mathematicalplatonism, such as the one advocated by Penelope Maddy, are unintelligble. Thus, platonists cannot respond to Benacerrafian epistemological arguments against their view vias Maddy-style naturalization. Finally, it is also argued that naturalized platonists cannot respond to this situation by abandoning abstractness (that is, platonism); they must abandon perceptibility (that is, naturalism).
According to standard mathematicalplatonism, mathematical entities (numbers, sets, etc.) are abstract entities. As such, they lack causal powers and spatio-temporal location. Platonists owe us an account of how we acquire knowledge of this inaccessible mathematical realm. Some recent versions of mathematicalplatonism postulate a plenitude of mathematical entities, and Mark Balaguer has argued that, given the existence of such a plenitude, the attainment of mathematical knowledge is rendered non-problematic. I assess his (...) epistemology for such a profligate platonism and find it unsatisfactory because it lacks an adequate semantics, in particular, an adequate account of reference. (shrink)
Jody Azzouni has offered the following argument against the existence of mathematical entities: if, as it seems, mathematical entities play no role in mathematical practice, we therefore have no reason to believe in them. I consider this argument as it applies to mathematicalplatonism, and argue that it does not present a legitimate novel challenge to platonism. I also assess Azzouni's use of the ‘epistemic role puzzle’ (ERP) to undermine the platonist's alleged parallel between (...) skepticism about mathematical entities and external-world skepticism. I conclude that ERP fails to undermine this parallel. (shrink)
Recent years have seen a number of naturalist accounts of mathematics. Philip Kitcher’s version is one of the most important and influential. This paper includes a critical exposition of Kitcher’s views and a discussion of several issues including: mathematical epistemology, practice, history, the nature of applied mathematics. It argues that naturalism is an inadequate account and compares it with mathematicalPlatonism, to the advantage of the latter.
The indispensability argument seeks to establish the existence of mathematical objects. The success of the indispensability argument turns on finding cases of genuine extra-mathematical explanation (the explanation of physical facts by mathematical facts). In this paper, I identify a new case of extra-mathematical explanation, involving the search patterns of fully-aquatic marine predators. I go on to use this case to predict the prevalence of extra-mathematical explanation in science.
In this paper I consider what it would take to combine a certain kind of mathematicalPlatonism with serious presentism. I argue that a Platonist moved to accept the existence of mathematical objects on the basis of an indispensability argument faces a significant challenge if she wishes to accept presentism. This is because, on the one hand, the indispensability argument can be reformulated as a new argument for the existence of past entities and, on the other hand, (...) if one accepts the indispensability argument for mathematical objects then it is hard to resist the analogous argument for the existence of the past. (shrink)
What is the nature of mathematical knowledge? Is it anything like scientific knowledge or is it sui generis? How do we acquire it? Should we believe what mathematicians themselves tell us about it? Are mathematical concepts innate or acquired? Eight new essays offer answers to these and many other questions. Written by some of the world's leading philosophers of mathematics, psychologists, and mathematicians, Mathematical Knowledge gives a lively sense of the current state of debate in this fascinating (...) field. Contents 1. Mary Leng: Introduction 2. Michael Potter: What is the problem of mathematical knowledge? 3. Tim Gowers: Mathematics, memory, and mental arithmetic 4. Alan Baker: Is there a problem of induction for mathematics? 5. Marinella Cappelletti and Valeria Giardino: The cognitive basis of mathematical knowledge 6. Mary Leng: What's there to know? A fictionalist account of mathematical knowledge 7. Mark Colyvan: Mathematical recreation versus mathematical knowledge 8. Alexander Paseau: Scientific platonism 9. Crispin Wright: On quantifying into predicate position: Steps towards a (new)tralist position. (shrink)
In Mathematical Thought and Its Objects, Charles Parsons examines the notion of object, with the aim to navigate between nominalism, denying that distinctively mathematical objects exist, and forms of Platonism that postulate a transcendent realm of such objects. He introduces the central mathematical notion of structure and defends a version of the structuralist view of mathematical objects, according to which their existence is relative to a structure and they have no more of a “nature” than (...) that confers on them. (shrink)
Platonism in the philosophy of mathematics is the doctrine that there are mathematical objects such as numbers. John Burgess and Gideon Rosen have argued that that there is no good epistemological argument against platonism. They propose a dilemma, claiming that epistemological arguments against platonism either rely on a dubious epistemology, or resemble a dubious sceptical argument concerning perceptual knowledge. Against Burgess and Rosen, I show that an epistemological anti-platonist argument proposed by Hartry Field avoids both horns (...) of their dilemma. (shrink)
It is widely believed that platonists face a formidable problem: that of providing an intelligible account of mathematical knowledge. The problem is that we seem unable, if the platonist is right, to have the causal relationships with the objects of mathematics without which knowledge of these objects seems unintelligible. The standard platonist response to this challenge is either to deny that knowledge without causation is unintelligible, or to make room for causal interactions by softening the platonism at issue. (...) In this essay I argue that the idea of causal relations with fully platonist objects is unproblematic. I would like to thank Agnes Gellen Callard, Josh Sheptow, and Palle Yourgrau for helpful discussions of the ideas presented here. (shrink)
A basic thesis of Neokantian epistemology and philosophy of science contends that the knowing subject and the object to be known are only abstractions. What really exists, is the relation between both. For the elucidation of this “knowledge relation ("Erkenntnisrelation") the Neokantians of the Marburg school used a variety of mathematical metaphors. In this con-tribution I reconsider some of these metaphors proposed by Paul Natorp, who was one of the leading members of the Marburg school. It is shown that (...) Natorp's metaphors are not unrelated to those used in some currents of contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
In a previous paper, Thomas V. Morris and I sketched a view on which abstract objects, in particular, properties, relations, and propositions (PRPs), are created by God no less than contingent, concrete objects. In this paper r suggest a way of extending this account to cover mathematical objects as well. Drawing on some recent work in logic and metaphysics, I also develop a more detailed account of the structure of PRPs in answer to the paradoxes that arise on a (...) naive understanding of the structure ofthe abstract universe. (shrink)
In this paper I examine a strategy which aims to bypass the technicalities of the indispensability debate and to offer a direct route to nominalism. The starting-point for this alternative nominalist strategy is the claim that--according to the platonist picture--the existence of mathematical objects makes no difference to the concrete, physical world. My principal goal is to show that the 'Makes No Difference' (MND) Argument does not succeed in undermining platonism. The basic reason why not is that the (...) makes-no-difference claim which the argument is based on is problematic. Arguments both for and against this claim can be found in the literature; I examine three such arguments, uncovering flaws in each one. In the second half of the paper, I take a more direct approach and present an analysis of the counterfactual which underpins the makes-no-difference claim. What this analysis reveals is that indispensability considerations are in fact crucial to the proper evaluation of the MND Argument, contrary to the claims of its supporters. (shrink)
The historian of philosophy often encounters arguments that are enthymematic: they have conclusions that follow from their explicit premises only by the addition of "tacit" or "suppressed" premises. It is a standard practice of interpretation to supply these missing premises, even where the enthymeme is "real," that is, where there is no other context in which the philosopher in question asserts the missing premises. To do so is to follow a principle of charity: other things being equal, one interpretation is (...) better than another just to the extent that the one produces a better argument than the other. We show that this principle leads to paradoxical conclusions, including the following: there is no objectively correct interpretation of any real enthymeme found in the text of a major philosopher; an interpreter will not regard a real enthymeme of a major philosopher as adequately interpreted until he has found a way of reading it that makes it into a good argument; every classical philosopher is infallible and omniscient; major philosophers never disagree. These conclusions are preposterous, but there are indications that they are in fact being reached, as we show by means of a case study of recent scholarship on Plato's Third Man Argument. To avoid the overinterpretation and anachronism that result from the unrestrained use of the principle of charity, one must employ a counterbalancing principle of parsimony: to seek the simplest explanation for the text under discussion. We study the role of the principle of parsimony by means of a mathematical case study, involving the suppressed premises in Euclid's Elements. Here the principle of parsimony plays a larger role than it does in the interpretation of philosophical texts, leading to a sharper distinction between Euclid's geometry and Euclidean geometry than we find between Plato and Platonism. We conclude by comparing two models of interpretation, which we call prospective and retrospective. Although the prospective model of interpretation leads to Platonism rather than to Plato, we argue that it still has a place in Platonic scholarship. (shrink)
In this paper, we develop an alternative strategy, Platonized Naturalism, for reconciling naturalism and Platonism and to account for our knowledge of mathematical objects and properties. A systematic (Principled) Platonism based on a comprehension principle that asserts the existence of a plenitude of abstract objects is not just consistent with, but required (on transcendental grounds) for naturalism. Such a comprehension principle is synthetic, and it is known a priori. Its synthetic a priori character is grounded in the (...) fact that it is an essential part of the logic in which any scientific theory will be formulated and so underlies (our understanding of) the meaningfulness of any such theory (this is why it is required for naturalism). Moreover, the comprehension principle satisfies naturalist standards of reference, knowledge, and ontological parsimony! As part of our argument, we identify mathematical objects as abstract individuals in the domain governed by the comprehension principle, and we show that our knowledge of mathematical truths is linked to our knowledge of that principle. (shrink)
del's appeal to mathematical intuition to ground our grasp of the axioms of set theory, is notorious. I extract from his writings an account of this form of intuition which distinguishes it from the metaphorical platonism of which Gödel is sometimes accused and brings out the similarities between Gödel's views and Dummett's.
In Science without numbers Hartry Field attempted to formulate a nominalist version of Newtonian physics?one free of ontic commitment to numbers, functions or sets?sufficiently strong to have the standard platonist version as a conservative extension. However, when uses for abstract entities kept popping up like hydra heads, Field enriched his logic to avoid them. This paper reviews some of Field's attempts to deflate his ontology by inflating his logic.
A doctrine that occurs intermittently in Quine’s work is that there is no extra-theoretic truth. This paper explores this doctrine, and argues that on its best interpretation it is inconsistent with three views Quine also accepts: bivalence, mathematicalPlatonism, and the disquotational account of truth.
Context: As one of the major approaches within the philosophy of mathematics, constructivism is to be contrasted with realist approaches such as Platonism in that it takes human mental activity as the basis of mathematical content. Problem: Mathematical constructivism is mostly identified as one of the so-called foundationalist accounts internal to mathematics. Other perspectives are possible, however. Results: The notion of “meaning finitism” is exploited to tie together internal and external directions within mathematical constructivism. The various (...) contributions to this issue support our case in different ways. Constructivist content: Further contributions from a multitude of constructivist directions are needed for the puzzle of an integrative, overarching theory of mathematical practice to be solved. (shrink)
This paper concerns the role of intuitions in mathematics, where intuitions are meant in the Kantian sense, i.e. the “seeing” of mathematical ideas by means of pictures, diagrams, thought experiments, etc.. The main problem discussed here is whether Platonistic argumentation, according to which some pictures can be considered as proofs (or parts of proofs) of some mathematical facts, is convincing and consistent. As a starting point, I discuss James Robert Brown’s recent book Philosophy of Mathematics, in particular, his (...) primarily examples and analogies. I then consider some alternatives and counterarguments, namely John Norton’s opposite view, that intuitions are just pictorially represented logical arguments and are superfluous; and the Kantian transcendental theory of construction in imagination, as it is developed in the works of Marcus Giaquinto and Michael Friedman. Although I support the claim that some intuitions are essential in mathematical justification, I argue that a Platonistic approach to intuitions is partial and one should go further than a Platonist in explaining how some intuitions can deliver new mathematical knowledge. (shrink)
Einstein proclaimed that we could discover true laws of nature by seeking those with the simplest mathematical formulation. He came to this viewpoint later in his life. In his early years and work he was quite hostile to this idea. Einstein did not develop his later Platonism from a priori reasoning or aesthetic considerations. He learned the canon of mathematical simplicity from his own experiences in the discovery of new theories, most importantly, his discovery of general relativity. (...) Through his neglect of the canon, he realised that he delayed the completion of general relativity by three years and nearly lost priority in discovery of its gravitational field equations. (shrink)
In this article the problem of unification of mathematical theories is discussed. We argue, that specific problems arise here, which are quite different than the problems in the case of empirical sciences. In particular, the notion of unification depends on the philosophical standpoint. We give an analysis of the notion of unification from the point of view of formalism, Gödel's platonism and Quine's realism. In particular we show, that the concept of “having the same object of study” should (...) be made precise in the case of mathematical theories. In the appendix we give a working proposal of a certain understanding of this notion. (shrink)
Jim Brown (1991, viii) says that platonism, in mathematics involves the following: 1. mathematical objects exist independently of us; 2. mathematical objects are abstract; 3. we learn about mathematical objects by the faculty of intuition. The same is being claimed by Jerrold Katz (1981, 1998) in his platonistic approach to linguistics. We can take the object of linguistic analysis to be concrete physical sounds as held by nominalists, or we can assume that the object of linguistic (...) study are psychological or mental states which presents the conceptualism or psychologism of Chomsky and that language is an abstract object as held by platonists or realists and urged by Jerrold Katz hinlself.I want to explicate Katz’s proposal which is based on Kant’s conception of pure intuition and give arguments why I find it implausible. I also present doubts that linguists use intuitive evidence only. I conclude with some arguments against the a prioricity of intuitive judgements in general which is also relevant for Jim Brown’s platonistic beliefs. (shrink)
The philosophy of mathematics of the later Wittgenstein is normally not taken very seriously. According to a popular objection, it cannot account for mathematical necessity. Other critics have dismissed Wittgenstein's approach on the grounds that his anti-platonism is unable to explain mathematical objectivity. This latter objection would be endorsed by somebody who agreed with Paul Benacerraf that any anti-platonistic view fails to describe mathematical truth. This paper focuses on the problem proposed by Benacerraf of reconciling the (...) semantics with the epistemology for mathematics. It is claimed that there is a way of solving Benacerrafs problem along the lines suggested by Wittgenstein's later remarks on mathematics. This will require demonstrating that a satisfactory conception of mathematical objectivity can be extracted from his mature philosophy. (shrink)
Truth Through Proof defends an anti-platonist philosophy of mathematics derived from game formalism. Classic formalists claimed implausibly that mathematical utterances are truth-valueless moves in a game. Alan Weir aims to develop a more satisfactory successor to game formalism utilising a widely accepted, broadly neo-Fregean framework, in which the proposition expressed by an utterance is a function of both sense and background circumstance. This framework allows for sentences whose truth-conditions are not representational, which are made true or false by conditions (...) residing in the circumstances of utterances but not transparently in the sense. Applications to projectivism and fiction pave the way for the claim that mathematical utterances are made true or false by the existence of concrete proofs or refutations, though these truth-making conditions form no part of their sense or informational content. The position is compared with rivals, an account of the applicability of mathematics developed, and a new account of the nature of idealisation proffered in which it is argued that the finitistic limitations Gödel placed on proofs are without rational justification. Finally a non-classical logical system is provided in which excluded middle fails, yet enough logical power remains to recapture the results of standard mathematics. (shrink)
Philosophers of mathematics agree that the only interpretation of arithmetic that takes that discourse at 'face value' is one on which the expressions 'N', '0', '1', '+', and 'x' are treated as proper names. I argue that the interpretation on which these expressions are treated as akin to free variables has an equal claim to be the default interpretation of arithmetic. I show that no purely syntactic test can distinguish proper names from free variables, and I observe that any semantic (...) test that can must beg the question. I draw the same conclusion concerning areas of mathematics beyond arithmetic. This paper is a greatly extended version of my response to Stewart Shapiro's paper in the conference 'Structuralism in physics and mathematics' held in Bristol on 2–3 December, 2006. (shrink)
Mathematical fictionalism (or as I'll call it, fictionalism) is best thought of as a reaction to mathematicalplatonism. Platonism is the view that (a) there exist abstract mathematical objects (i.e., nonspatiotemporal mathematical objects), and (b) our mathematical sentences and theories provide true descriptions of such objects. So, for instance, on the platonist view, the sentence ‘3 is prime’ provides a straightforward description of a certain object—namely, the number 3—in much the same way that (...) the sentence ‘Mars is red’ provides a description of Mars. But whereas Mars is a physical object, the number 3 is (according to platonism) an abstract object. And abstract objects, platonists tell us, are wholly nonphysical, nonmental, nonspatial, nontemporal, and noncausal. Thus, on this view, the number 3 exists independently of us and our thinking, but it does not exist in space or time, it is not a physical or mental object, and it does not enter into causal relations with other objects. This view has been endorsed by Plato, Frege (1884, 1893-1903, 1919), Gödel (1964), and in some of their writings, Russell (1912) and Quine (1948, 1951), not to mention numerous more recent philosophers of mathematics, e.g., Putnam (1971), Parsons (1971), Steiner (1975), Resnik (1997), Shapiro (1997), Hale (1987), Wright (1983), Katz (1998), Zalta (1988), and Colyvan (2001). (shrink)
This introduction to mathematical logic starts with propositional calculus and first-order logic. Topics covered include syntax, semantics, soundness, completeness, independence, normal forms, vertical paths through negation normal formulas, compactness, Smullyan's Unifying Principle, natural deduction, cut-elimination, semantic tableaux, Skolemization, Herbrand's Theorem, unification, duality, interpolation, and definability. The last three chapters of the book provide an introduction to type theory (higher-order logic). It is shown how various mathematical concepts can be formalized in this very expressive formal language. This expressive notation (...) facilitates proofs of the classical incompleteness and undecidability theorems which are very elegant and easy to understand. The discussion of semantics makes clear the important distinction between standard and nonstandard models which is so important in understanding puzzling phenomena such as the incompleteness theorems and Skolem's Paradox about countable models of set theory. Some of the numerous exercises require giving formal proofs. A computer program called ETPS which is available from the web facilitates doing and checking such exercises. Audience: This volume will be of interest to mathematicians, computer scientists, and philosophers in universities, as well as to computer scientists in industry who wish to use higher-order logic for hardware and software specification and verification. (shrink)
Draft. Berkeley denied the existence of abstract ideas and any faculty of abstraction. At the same time, however, he embraced innate ideas and a faculty of pure intellect. This paper attempts to reconcile the tension between these commitments by offering an interpretation of Berkeley's Platonism.
If anything is taken for granted in contemporary metaphysics, it is that platonism with respect to a discourse of metaphysical interest, such as fictional or mathematical discourse, affords a better account of the semantic appearances than nominalism, other things being equal. This belief is often motivated by the intuitively stronger one that the platonist can take the semantic appearances “at face-value” while the nominalist must resort to apparently ad hoc and technically problematic machinery in order to explain those (...) appearances away. -/- In this paper, I argue that, on any natural construal of “face-value”, the platonist, like the nominalist, does not in general seem to be able to take the semantic appearances at face-value. And insofar as the nominalist is forced to adopt apparently ad hoc and technically problematic machinery in order to explain those appearances away, the platonist is generally forced to adopt machinery which is at least prima facie ad hoc and technically problematic as well. One moral of the story is that the thesis that platonism affords a better account of the semantic appearances than nominalism, other things being equal, is not trivial. Another is that we should rethink our methodology in metaphysics. (shrink)
The Enhanced Indispensability Argument (Baker [ 2009 ]) exemplifies the new wave of the indispensability argument for mathematicalPlatonism. The new wave capitalizes on mathematics' role in scientific explanations. I will criticize some analyses of mathematics' explanatory function. In turn, I will emphasize the representational role of mathematics, and argue that the debate would significantly benefit from acknowledging this alternative viewpoint to mathematics' contribution to scientific explanations and knowledge.
A history of logic -- Patterns of reasoning -- A language and its meaning -- A symbolic language -- 1850-1950 mathematical logic -- Modern symbolic logic -- Elements of set theory -- Sets, functions, relations -- Induction -- Turning machines -- Computability and decidability -- Propositional logic -- Syntax and proof systems -- Semantics of PL -- Soundness and completeness -- First order logic -- Syntax and proof systems of FOL -- Semantics of FOL -- More semantics -- Soundness (...) and completeness -- Why is first order logic "First Order"? (shrink)
Noted logician and philosopher addresses various forms of mathematical logic, discussing both theoretical underpinnings and practical applications. After historical survey, lucid treatment of set theory, model theory, recursion theory and constructivism and proof theory. Place of problems in development of theories of logic, logic’s relationship to computer science, more. Suitable for readers at many levels of mathematical sophistication. 3 appendixes. Bibliography. 1981 edition.
Recent experimental evidence from developmental psychology and cogni- tive neuroscience indicates that humans are equipped with unlearned elementary math- ematical skills. However, formal mathematics has properties that cannot be reduced to these elementary cognitive capacities. The question then arises how human beings cognitively deal with more advanced mathematical ideas. This paper draws on the extended mind thesis to suggest that mathematical symbols enable us to delegate some mathematical operations to the external environment. In this view, mathematical (...) symbols are not only used to express mathematical concepts—they are constitutive of the mathematical concepts themselves. Mathematical symbols are epistemic actions, because they enable us to represent concepts that are literally unthinkable with our bare brains. Using case-studies from the history of mathematics and from educational psychology, we argue for an intimate relationship between mathematical symbols and mathematical cognition. (shrink)
This paper concerns Alan Turing’s ideas about machines, mathematical methods of proof, and intelligence. By the late 1930s, Kurt Gödel and other logicians, including Turing himself, had shown that no finite set of rules could be used to generate all true mathematical statements. Yet according to Turing, there was no upper bound to the number of mathematical truths provable by intelligent human beings, for they could invent new rules and methods of proof. So, the output of a (...) human mathematician, for Turing, was not a computable sequence (i.e., one that could be generated by a Turing machine). Since computers only contained a finite number of instructions (or programs), one might argue, they could not reproduce human intelligence. Turing called this the “mathematical objection” to his view that machines can think. Logico-mathematical reasons, stemming from his own work, helped to convince Turing that it should be possible to reproduce human intelligence, and eventually compete with it, by developing the appropriate kind of digital computer. He felt it should be possible to program a computer so that it could learn or discover new rules, overcoming the limitations imposed by the incompleteness and undecidability results in the same way that human mathematicians presumably do. (shrink)
Proofs and Refutations is essential reading for all those interested in the methodology, the philosophy and the history of mathematics. Much of the book takes the form of a discussion between a teacher and his students. They propose various solutions to some mathematical problems and investigate the strengths and weaknesses of these solutions. Their discussion (which mirrors certain real developments in the history of mathematics) raises some philosophical problems and some problems about the nature of mathematical discovery or (...) creativity. Imre Lakatos is concerned throughout to combat the classical picture of mathematical development as a steady accumulation of established truths. He shows that mathematics grows instead through a richer, more dramatic process of the successive improvement of creative hypotheses by attempts to 'prove' them and by criticism of these attempts: the logic of proofs and refutations. (shrink)
Quine rejects intensional Platonism and, with it, also rejects attributes (properties) as designations of predicates. He pragmatically accepts extensional Platonism, but conceives of classes as merely auxiliary entities needed to express some laws of set theory. At the elementary logical level, Quine develops an “ontologically innocent” logic of predicates. What in standard quantification theory is the work of variables is in the logic of predicates the work of a few functors that operate on predicates themselves: variables are eliminated. (...) This “predicate functor logic” may be conceived as a peculiar sort of Platonism - ontologically neutral, reduced to schematized linguistic forms. (shrink)
The present paper argues that ‘mature mathematical formalisms’ play a central role in achieving representation via scientific models. A close discussion of two contemporary accounts of how mathematical models apply—the DDI account (according to which representation depends on the successful interplay of denotation, demonstration and interpretation) and the ‘matching model’ account—reveals shortcomings of each, which, it is argued, suggests that scientific representation may be ineliminably heterogeneous in character. In order to achieve a degree of unification that is compatible (...) with successful representation, scientists often rely on the existence of a ‘mature mathematical formalism’, where the latter refers to a—mathematically formulated and physically interpreted—notational system of locally applicable rules that derive from (but need not be reducible to) fundamental theory. As mathematical formalisms undergo a process of elaboration, enrichment, and entrenchment, they come to embody theoretical, ontological, and methodological commitments and assumptions. Since these are enshrined in the formalism itself, they are no longer readily obvious to either the novice or the proficient user. At the same time as formalisms constrain what may be represented, they also function as inferential and interpretative resources. (shrink)
It is alleged that the causal inertness of abstract objects and the causal conditions of certain naturalized epistemologies precludes the possibility of mathematical know- ledge. This paper rejects this alleged incompatibility, while also maintaining that the objects of mathematical beliefs are abstract objects, by incorporating a naturalistically acceptable account of ‘rational intuition.’ On this view, rational intuition consists in a non-inferential belief-forming process where the entertaining of propositions or certain contemplations results in true beliefs. This view is free (...) of any conditions incompatible with abstract objects, for the reason that it is not necessary that S stand in some causal relation to the entities in virtue of which p is true. Mathematical intuition is simply one kind of reliable process type, whose inputs are not abstract numbers, but rather, contemplations of abstract numbers. (shrink)
This lively introduction to mathematical logic, easily accessible to non-mathematicians, offers an historical survey, coverage of predicate calculus, model theory, Godel’s theorems, computability and recursivefunctions, consistency and independence in axiomatic set theory, and much more. Suggestions for Further Reading. Diagrams.
Undergraduate students with no prior classroom instruction in mathematical logic will benefit from this evenhanded multipart text by one of the centuries greatest authorities on the subject. Part I offers an elementary but thorough overview of mathematical logic of first order. The treatment does not stop with a single method of formulating logic; students receive instruction in a variety of techniques, first learning model theory (truth tables), then Hilbert-type proof theory, and proof theory handled through derived rules. Part (...) II supplements the material covered in Part I and introduces some of the newer ideas and the more profound results of logical research in the twentieth century. Subsequent chapters introduce the study of formal number theory, with surveys of the famous incompleteness and undecidability results of Godel, Church, Turing, and others. The emphasis in the final chapter reverts to logic, with examinations of Godel's completeness theorem, Gentzen's theorem, Skolem's paradox and nonstandard models of arithmetic, and other theorems. Unabridged republication of the edition published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York, 1967. Preface. Bibliography. Theorem and Lemma Numbers: Pages. List of Postulates. Symbols and Notations. Index. (shrink)
Comprehensive account of constructive theory of first-order predicate calculus. Covers formal methods including algorithms and epi-theory, brief treatment of Markov’s approach to algorithms, elementary facts about lattices and similar algebraic systems, more. Philosophical and reflective as well as mathematical. Graduate-level course. 1963 ed. Exercises.
Robert Stalnaker has argued that mathematical information is information about the sentences and expressions of mathematics. I argue that this metalinguistic account is open to a variant of Alonzo Church's translation objection and that Stalnaker's attempt to get around this objection is not successful. If correct, this tells not only against Stalnaker's account of mathematical truths, but against any metalinguistic account of truths that are both necessary and informative.
Machine generated contents note: Part I. General: 1. The Gödel editorial project: a synopsis Solomon Feferman; 2. Future tasks for Gödel scholars John W. Dawson, Jr., and Cheryl A. Dawson; Part II. Proof Theory: 3. Kurt Gödel and the metamathematical tradition Jeremy Avigad; 4. Only two letters: the correspondence between Herbrand and Gödel Wilfried Sieg; 5. Gödel's reformulation of Gentzen's first consistency proof for arithmetic: the no-counter-example interpretation W. W. Tait; 6. Gödel on intuition and on Hilbert's finitism W. W. (...) Tait; 7. The Gödel hierarchy and reverse mathematics Stephen G. Simpson; 8. On the outside looking in: a caution about conservativeness John P. Burgess; Part III. Set Theory: 9. Gödel and set theory Akihiro Kanamori; 10. Generalizations of Gödel's universe of constructible sets Sy-David Friedman; 11. On the question of absolute undecidability Peter Koellner; Part IV. Philosophy of Mathematics: 12. What did Gödel believe and when did he believe it? Martin Davis; 13. On Gödel's way in: the influence of Rudolf Carnap Warren Goldfarb; 14. Gödel and Carnap Steve Awodey and A. W. Carus; 15. On the philosophical development of Kurt Gödel Mark van Atten and Juliette Kennedy; 16. Platonism and mathematical intuition in Kurt Gödel's thought Charles Parsons; 17. Gödel's conceptual realism Donald A. Martin. (shrink)
This introduction to rigorous mathematical logic is simple enough in both presentation and context for students of a wide range of ages and abilities. Starting with symbolizing sentences and sentential connectives, it proceeds to the rules of logical inference and sentential derivation, examines the concepts of truth and validity, and presents a series of truth tables. Subsequent topics include terms, predicates, and universal quantifiers; universal specification and laws of identity; axioms for addition; and universal generalization. Throughout the book, the (...) authors emphasize the pervasive and important problem of translating English sentences into logical or mathematical symbolism. 1964 edition. Index. (shrink)
Chihara here develops a mathematical system in which there are no existence assertions but only assertions of the constructibility of certain sorts of things. He utilizes this system in the analysis of the nature of mathematics, and discusses many recent works in the philosophy of mathematics from the viewpoint of the constructibility theory developed. This innovative analysis will appeal to mathematicians and philosophers of logic, mathematics, and science.
An influential position in the philosophy of biology claims that there are no biological laws, since any apparently biological generalization is either too accidental, fact-like or contingent to be named a law, or is simply reducible to physical laws that regulate electrical and chemical interactions taking place between merely physical systems. In the following I will stress a neglected aspect of the debate that emerges directly from the growing importance of mathematical models of biological phenomena. My main aim is (...) to defend, as well as reinforce, the view that there are indeed laws also in biology, and that their difference in stability, contingency or resilience with respect to physical laws is one of degrees, and not of kind. In order to reach this goal, in the next sections I will advance the following two arguments in favor of the existence of biological laws, both of which are meant to stress the similarity between physical and biological laws. (shrink)
This junior/senior level text is devoted to a study of first-order logic and its role in the foundations of mathematics: What is a proof? How can a proof be justified? To what extent can a proof be made a purely mechanical procedure? How much faith can we have in a proof that is so complex that no one can follow it through in a lifetime? The first substantial answers to these questions have only been obtained in this century. The most (...) striking results are contained in Goedel's work: First, it is possible to give a simple set of rules that suffice to carry out all mathematical proofs; but, second, these rules are necessarily incomplete - it is impossible, for example, to prove all true statements of arithmetic. The book begins with an introduction to first-order logic, Goedel's theorem, and model theory. A second part covers extensions of first-order logic and limitations of the formal methods. The book covers several advanced topics, not commonly treated in introductory texts, such as Trachtenbrot's undecidability theorem. Fraissé's elementary equivalence, and Lindstroem's theorem on the maximality of first-order logic. (shrink)
This article suggests that scientific philosophy, especially mathematical philosophy, might be one important way of doing philosophy in the future. Along the way, the article distinguishes between different types of scientific philosophy; it mentions some of the scientific methods that can serve philosophers; it aims to undermine some worries about mathematical philosophy; and it tries to make clear why in certain cases the application of mathematical methods is necessary for philosophical progress.
Traditional logic as a part of philosophy is one of the oldest scientific disciplines. Mathematical logic, however, is a relatively young discipline and arose from the endeavors of Peano, Frege, Russell and others to create a logistic foundation for mathematics. It steadily developed during the 20th century into a broad discipline with several sub-areas and numerous applications in mathematics, informatics, linguistics and philosophy. While there are already several well-known textbooks on mathematical logic, this book is unique in that (...) it is much more concise than most others, and the material is treated in a streamlined fashion which allows the professor to cover many important topics in a one semester course. Although the book is intended for use as a graduate text, the first three chapters could be understood by undergraduates interested in mathematical logic. These initial chapters cover just the material for an introductory course on mathematical logic combined with the necessary material from set theory. This material is of a descriptive nature, providing a view towards decision problems, automated theorem proving, non-standard models and other subjects. The remaining chapters contain material on logic programming for computer scientists, model theory, recursion theory, Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems, and applications of mathematical logic. Philosophical and foundational problems of mathematics are discussed throughout the text. The author has provided exercises for each chapter, as well as hints to selected exercises. About the German edition: …The book can be useful to the student and lecturer who prepares a mathematical logic course at the university. What a pity that the book is not written in a universal scientific language which mankind has not yet created. - A.Nabebin, Zentralblatt. (shrink)
Assuming no previous study in logic, this informal yet rigorous text covers the material of a standard undergraduate first course in mathematical logic, using natural deduction and leading up to the completeness theorem for first-order logic. At each stage of the text, the reader is given an intuition based on standard mathematical practice, which is subsequently developed with clean formal mathematics. Alongside the practical examples, readers learn what can and can't be calculated; for example the correctness of a (...) derivation proving a given sequent can be tested mechanically, but there is no general mechanical test for the existence of a derivation proving the given sequent. The undecidability results are proved rigorously in an optional final chapter, assuming Matiyasevich's theorem characterising the computably enumerable relations. Rigorous proofs of the adequacy and completeness proofs of the relevant logics are provided, with careful attention to the languages involved. Optinal sections discuss the classification of mathematical structures by first-order theories; the required theory of cardinality is developed from scratch. Throughout the book there are notes on historical aspects of the material, and connections with linguistics and computer science, and the discussion of syntax and semantics is influenced by modern linguistic approaches. Two basic themes in recent cognitive science studies of actual human reasoning are also introduced. Including extensive exercises and selected solutions, this text is ideal for students in logic, mathematics, philosophy, and computer science. (shrink)
Figures of Thought looks at how mathematical works can be read as texts and examines their textual strategies. David Reed offers the first sustained and critical attempt to find a consistent argument or narrative thread in mathematical texts. Reed selects mathematicians from a range of historical periods and compares their approaches to organizing and arguing texts, using an extended commentary on Euclid's Elements as a central structuring framework. He develops fascinating interpretations of mathematicians' work throughout history, from Descartes (...) to Hilbert, Kronecker, Dedekind, Weil and Grothendieck. Reed traces the implications of this approach to the understanding of the history and development of mathematics. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against Divers and Miller's 'Lightness of Being' objection to Hale and Wright's neo-Fregean Platonism. According to the 'Lightness of Being' objection, the neo-Fregean Platonist makes existence too cheap: the same principles which allow her to argue that numbers exist also allow her to claim that fictional objects exist. I claim that this is no objection at all" the neo-Fregean Platonist should think that fictional characters exist. However, the pluralist approach to truth developed by WQright (...) in 'Truth and Objectivity' allows us to salvage our intuitions about the metaphysicial lightweightness of fictional characters: truth for discourse about fictional characters fails to exert 'Cognityive Command', whereas truth about arithmetic does. (shrink)
Buzaglo (as well as Manders (J Philos LXXXVI(10):553–562, 1989)) shows the way in which it is rational even for a realist to consider ‘development of concepts’, and documents the theory by numerous examples from the area of mathematics. A natural question arises: in which way can the phenomenon of expanding mathematical concepts influence empirical concepts? But at the same time a more general question can be formulated: in which way do the mathematical concepts influence empirical concepts? What I (...) want to show in the present paper can be described as follows. The problem articulated by Buzaglo deserves some semantic refinements. Following explications are needed: What is meaning? (In particular: What are concepts?) What are questions? (Or, equivalently: Semantics of interrogative sentences.) -/- Further, a useful notion will be the notion of problem. Taking over the notion of conceptual system from Materna (Conceptual Systems. Logos, Berlin, 2004) and using Tichý’s Transparent intensional logic (TIL) I can try to solve the problem of the relation between mathematical and empirical concepts (not only for the case of expanding some mathematical concepts). (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against Penelope Maddy's set-theoretic realism by arguing (1) that it is perfectly consistent with mathematicalPlatonism to deny that there is a fact of the matter concerning statements which are independent of the axioms of set theory, and that (2) denying this accords further that many contemporary Platonists assert that there is a fact of the matter because they are closet foundationalists, and that their brand of foundationalism is in radical conflict with actual (...)mathematical practice. (shrink)
Mathematics often seems incomprehensible, a melee of strange symbols thrown down on a page. But while formulae, theorems, and proofs can involve highly complex concepts, the math becomes transparent when viewed as part of a bigger picture. What Is a Number? provides that picture. Robert Tubbs examines how mathematical concepts like number, geometric truth, infinity, and proof have been employed by artists, theologians, philosophers, writers, and cosmologists from ancient times to the modern era. Looking at a broad range of (...) topics -- from Pythagoras's exploration of the connection between harmonious sounds and mathematical ratios to the understanding of time in both Western and pre-Columbian thought -- Tubbs ties together seemingly disparate ideas to demonstrate the relationship between the sometimes elusive thought of artists and philosophers and the concrete logic of mathematicians. He complements his textual arguments with diagrams and illustrations. This historic and thematic study refutes the received wisdom that mathematical concepts are esoteric and divorced from other intellectual pursuits -- revealing them instead as dynamic and intrinsic to almost every human endeavor. (shrink)
Mathematical Logic for Computer Science is a mathematics textbook with theorems and proofs, but the choice of topics has been guided by the needs of computer science students. The method of semantic tableaux provides an elegant way to teach logic that is both theoretically sound and yet sufficiently elementary for undergraduates. To provide a balanced treatment of logic, tableaux are related to deductive proof systems.The logical systems presented are:- Propositional calculus (including binary decision diagrams);- Predicate calculus;- Resolution;- Hoare logic;- (...) Z;- Temporal logic.Answers to exercises (for instructors only) as well as Prolog source code for algorithms may be found via the Springer London web site: http://www.springer.com/978-1-85233-319-5 Mordechai Ben-Ari is an associate professor in the Department of Science Teaching of the Weizmann Institute of Science. He is the author of numerous textbooks on concurrency, programming languages and logic, and has developed software tools for teaching concurrency. In 2004, Ben-Ari received the ACM/SIGCSE Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computer Science Education. (shrink)
Reasoning under uncertainty, that is, making judgements with only partial knowledge, is a major theme in artificial intelligence. Professor Paris provides here an introduction to the mathematical foundations of the subject. It is suited for readers with some knowledge of undergraduate mathematics but is otherwise self-contained, collecting together the key results on the subject, and formalising within a unified framework the main contemporary approaches and assumptions. The author has concentrated on giving clear mathematical formulations, analyses, justifications and consequences (...) of the main theories about uncertain reasoning, so the book can serve as a textbook for beginners or as a starting point for further basic research into the subject. It will be welcomed by graduate students and research workers in logic, philosophy, and computer science as a textbook for beginners, a starting point for further basic research into the subject, and not least, an account of how mathematics and artificial intelligence can complement and enrich each other. (shrink)
Lately, philosophers of mathematics have been exploring the notion of mathematical explanation within mathematics. This project is supposed to be analogous to the search for the correct analysis of scientific explanation. I argue here that given the way philosophers have been using “explanation,” the term is not applicable to mathematics as it is in science.