Epistemology of Mathematics

Edited by Alan Baker (Swarthmore College)
Assistant editor: Sam Roberts (University of Sheffield)
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  1. A Neglected Chapter in the History of Philosophy of Mathematical Thought Experiments: Insights From Jean Piaget’s Reception of Edmond Goblot.Marco Buzzoni - 2021 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 11 (1):282-304.
  2. Group Knowledge and Mathematical Collaboration: A Philosophical Examination of the Classification of Finite Simple Groups.Joshua Habgood-Coote & Fenner Stanley Tanswell - forthcoming - Episteme.
    In this paper we apply social epistemology to mathematical proofs and their role in mathematical knowledge. The most famous modern collaborative mathematical proof effort is the Classification of Finite Simple Groups. The history and sociology of this proof have been well-documented by Alma Steingart (2012), who highlights a number of surprising and unusual features of this collaborative endeavour that set it apart from smaller-scale pieces of mathematics. These features raise a number of interesting philosophical issues, but have received very little (...)
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  3. Mathematical Selves and the Shaping of Mathematical Modernism: Conflicting Epistemic Ideals in the Emergence of Enumerative Geometry.Nicolas Michel - 2021 - Isis 112 (1):68-92.
  4. Foucault, Deleuze, and Nietzsche.Ilexa Yardley - 2021 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory/.
  5. Universal Circularity.Ilexa Yardley - 2019 - Intelligent Design Center: Intelligent Design Center.
    Universal Circularity answers the most important question on every person’s mind: what is the core dynamic in Nature? It’s a short, easily digestible read that anyone can understand, targeted to the intellectually curious of any age, background, and-or cultural group. Why will people read it? It untangles, finally, the relationship between religion and science (biology and technology) (philosophy and physics) at the perfect time in a digital age, when we all need a shortcut to work through the cognitive dissonance called (...)
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  6. A Neglected Chapter in the History of Philosophy of Mathematical Thought Experiments: Edmond Goblot and His Interpretation by Jean Piaget.Marco Buzzoni - forthcoming - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science.
  7. Modal Cognitivism and Modal Expressivism.Hasen Khudairi - manuscript
    This paper aims to provide a mathematically tractable background against which to model both modal cognitivism and modal expressivism. I argue that epistemic modal algebras, endowed with a hyperintensional truthmaker semantics, comprise a materially adequate fragment of the language of thought. I demonstrate, then, how modal expressivism can be regimented by modal coalgebraic automata, to which the above epistemic modal algebras are dual. I examine, in particular, the virtues unique to the modal expressivist approach here proffered in the setting of (...)
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  8. Assessing the “Empirical Philosophy of Mathematics”.Markus Pantsar - 2015 - Discipline filosofiche. 25 (1):111-130.
    In the new millennium there have been important empirical developments in the philosophy of mathematics. One of these is the so-called “Empirical Philosophy of Mathematics” of Buldt, Löwe, Müller and Müller-Hill, which aims to complement the methodology of the philosophy of mathematics with empirical work. Among other things, this includes surveys of mathematicians, which EPM believes to give philosophically important results. In this paper I take a critical look at the sociological part of EPM as a case study of sociological (...)
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  9. Science of Knowing: Mathematics.Venkata Rayudu Posina - manuscript
    The 'Science of Knowing: Mathematics' textbook is the first book to put forward and substantiate the thesis that the mathematical understanding of mathematics, as exemplified in F. William Lawvere's Functorial Semantics, constitutes the science of knowing i.e. cognitive science.
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  10. Set-Theoretic Pluralism and the Benacerraf Problem.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):2013-2030.
    Set-theoretic pluralism is an increasingly influential position in the philosophy of set theory (Balaguer [1998], Linksy and Zalta [1995], Hamkins [2012]). There is considerable room for debate about how best to formulate set-theoretic pluralism, and even about whether the view is coherent. But there is widespread agreement as to what there is to recommend the view (given that it can be formulated coherently). Unlike set-theoretic universalism, set-theoretic pluralism affords an answer to Benacerraf’s epistemological challenge. The purpose of this paper is (...)
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  11. Ce este matematica: Ghidul şcolar al înţelegerii conceptuale a matematicii.Catalin Barboianu - 2020 - Targu Jiu: PhilScience Press.
    Aceasta nu este o carte de matematică, ci una despre matematică, care se adresează elevului sau studentului, dar şi dascălului său, cu un scop cât se poate de practic, anume acela de a iniţia şi netezi calea către înţelegerea completă a matematicii predate în şcoală. Tradiţia predării matematicii într-o abordare preponderent procedural-formală a avut ca efect o viziune deformată a elevilor asupra matematicii, ca fiind ceva strict formal, instrumental şi calculatoriu. Pierzând contactul cu baza conceptuală a matematicii, elevii dezvoltă pe (...)
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  12. Book Review of “Numbers and the Making of Us: Counting and the Course of Human Cultures” by Caleb Everett.Paula Quinon & Markus Pantsar - 2018 - Journal of Numerical Cognition 4 (2).
  13. The Idea of Continuity as Mathematical-Philosophical Invariant.Eldar Amirov - 2019 - “Metafizika” Journal 2 (8):p. 87-100.
    The concept of ‘ideas’ plays central role in philosophy. The genesis of the idea of continuity and its essential role in intellectual history have been analyzed in this research. The main question of this research is how the idea of continuity came to the human cognitive system. In this context, we analyzed the epistemological function of this idea. In intellectual history, the idea of continuity was first introduced by Leibniz. After him, this idea, as a paradigm, formed the base of (...)
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  14. Francesca Biagioli: Space, Number, and Geometry From Helmholtz to Cassirer: Springer, Dordrecht, 2016, 239 Pp, $109.99 , ISBN: 978-3-319-31777-9. [REVIEW]Lydia Patton - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (2):311-315.
    Francesca Biagioli’s Space, Number, and Geometry from Helmholtz to Cassirer is a substantial and pathbreaking contribution to the energetic and growing field of researchers delving into the physics, physiology, psychology, and mathematics of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book provides a bracing and painstakingly researched re-appreciation of the work of Hermann von Helmholtz and Ernst Cassirer, and of their place in the tradition, and is worth study for that alone. The contributions of the book go far beyond that, however. (...)
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  15. Mathematical Cognition and Enculturation: Introduction to the Synthese Special Issue.Markus Pantsar - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):3647-3655.
  16. Maddy On The Multiverse.Claudio Ternullo - 2019 - In Deniz Sarikaya, Deborah Kant & Stefania Centrone (eds.), Reflections on the Foundations of Mathematics. Berlin: Springer Verlag. pp. 43-78.
    Penelope Maddy has recently addressed the set-theoretic multiverse, and expressed reservations on its status and merits ([Maddy, 2017]). The purpose of the paper is to examine her concerns, by using the interpretative framework of set-theoretic naturalism. I first distinguish three main forms of 'multiversism', and then I proceed to analyse Maddy's concerns. Among other things, I take into account salient aspects of multiverse-related mathematics , in particular, research programmes in set theory for which the use of the multiverse seems to (...)
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  17. Forms of Structuralism: Bourbaki and the Philosophers.Jean-Pierre Marquis - 2020 - Structures Meres, Semantics, Mathematics, and Cognitive Science.
    In this paper, we argue that, contrary to the view held by most philosophers of mathematics, Bourbaki’s technical conception of mathematical structuralism is relevant to philosophy of mathematics. In fact, we believe that Bourbaki has captured the core of any mathematical structuralism.
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  18. What is Field's Epistemological Objection to Platonism?Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2019 - In Robin Stenwall & Tobias Hansson Wahlberg (eds.), Maurinian Truths : Essays in Honour of Anna-Sofia Maurin on her 50th Birthday. pp. 123-133.
    This paper concerns an epistemological objection against mathematical platonism, due to Hartry Field.The argument poses an explanatory challenge – the challenge to explain the reliability of our mathematical beliefs – which the platonist, it’s argued, cannot meet. Is the objection compelling? Philosophers disagree, but they also disagree on (and are sometimes very unclear about) how the objection should be understood. Here I distinguish some options, and highlight some gaps that need to be filled in on the potentially most compelling version (...)
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  19. On the Philosophical Significance of Frege’s Constraint.Andrea Sereni - 2019 - Philosophia Mathematica 27 (2):244–275.
    Foundational projects disagree on whether pure and applied mathematics should be explained together. Proponents of unified accounts like neologicists defend Frege’s Constraint (FC), a principle demanding that an explanation of applicability be provided by mathematical definitions. I reconsider the philosophical import of FC, arguing that usual conceptions are biased by ontological assumptions. I explore more reasonable weaker variants — Moderate and Modest FC — arguing against common opinion that ante rem structuralism (and other) views can meet them. I dispel doubts (...)
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  20. Naturalizing Logico-Mathematical Knowledge: Approaches From Philosophy, Psychology and Cognitive Science.Markus Pantsar - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (275):432-435.
    Naturalizing Logico-Mathematical Knowledge: Approaches from Philosophy, Psychology and Cognitive Science. Edited by Bangu Sorin.
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  21. Mathematical Knowledge and Naturalism.Fabio Sterpetti - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (1):225-247.
    How should one conceive of the method of mathematics, if one takes a naturalist stance? Mathematical knowledge is regarded as the paradigm of certain knowledge, since mathematics is based on the axiomatic method. Natural science is deeply mathematized, and science is crucial for any naturalist perspective. But mathematics seems to provide a counterexample both to methodological and ontological naturalism. To face this problem, some naturalists try to naturalize mathematics relying on Darwinism. But several difficulties arise when one tries to naturalize (...)
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  22. Mathematician's Call for Interdisciplinary Research Effort.Catalin Barboianu - 2013 - International Gambling Studies 13 (3):430-433.
    The article addresses the necessity of increasing the role of mathematics in the psychological intervention in problem gambling, including cognitive therapies. It also calls for interdisciplinary research with the direct contribution of mathematics. The current contributions and limitations of the role of mathematics are analysed with an eye toward the professional profiles of the researchers. An enhanced collaboration between these two disciplines is suggested and predicted.
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  23. Circularities In The Contemporary Philosophical Accounts Of The Applicability Of Mathematics In The Physical Universe.Catalin Barboianu - 2015 - Revista de Filosofie 61 (5):517-542.
    Contemporary philosophical accounts of the applicability of mathematics in physical sciences and the empirical world are based on formalized relations between the mathematical structures and the physical systems they are supposed to represent within the models. Such relations were constructed both to ensure an adequate representation and to allow a justification of the validity of the mathematical models as means of scientific inference. This article puts in evidence the various circularities (logical, epistemic, and of definition) that are present in these (...)
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  24. The "Unreasonable" Effectiveness of Mathematics: The Foundational Approach of the Theoretic Alternatives.Catalin Barboianu - 2015 - Revista de Filosofie 62 (1):58-71.
    The attempts of theoretically solving the famous puzzle-dictum of physicist Eugene Wigner regarding the “unreasonable” effectiveness of mathematics as a problem of analytical philosophy, started at the end of the 19th century, are yet far from coming out with an acceptable theoretical solution. The theories developed for explaining the empirical “miracle” of applied mathematics vary in nature, foundation and solution, from denying the existence of a genuine problem to structural theories with an advanced level of mathematical formalism. Despite this variation, (...)
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  25. Filosofia Aplicabilitatii Matematicii: Intre Irational si Rational.Catalin Barboianu - 2018 - Târgu Jiu, Romania: Infarom.
    Lucrarea tratează unul dintre “misterele” filosofiei analitice şi ale raţionalităţii însăşi, anume aplicabilitatea matematicii în ştiinţe şi în investigarea matematică a realităţii înconjurătoare, a cărei filosofie este dezvoltată în jurul sintagmei – de acum paradigmatice – ‘eficacitatea iraţională a matematicii’, aparţinând fizicianului Eugene Wigner, problemă filosofică etichetată în literatură drept “puzzle-ul lui Wigner”. Odată intraţi în profunzimea acestei probleme, investigaţia nu trebuie limitată la căutarea unor răspunsuri explicative la întrebări precum “Ce este de fapt aplicabilitatea matematicii?”, “Cum explicăm prezenţa în (...)
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  26. Learning the Natural Numbers as a Child.Stefan Buijsman - 2019 - Noûs 53 (1):3-22.
    How do we get out knowledge of the natural numbers? Various philosophical accounts exist, but there has been comparatively little attention to psychological data on how the learning process actually takes place. I work through the psychological literature on number acquisition with the aim of characterising the acquisition stages in formal terms. In doing so, I argue that we need a combination of current neologicist accounts and accounts such as that of Parsons. In particular, I argue that we learn the (...)
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  27. Mathematical Models of Abstract Systems: Knowing Abstract Geometric Forms.Jean-Pierre Marquis - 2013 - Annales de la Faculté des Sciences de Toulouse 22 (5):969-1016.
    Scientists use models to know the world. It i susually assumed that mathematicians doing pure mathematics do not. Mathematicians doing pure mathematics prove theorems about mathematical entities like sets, numbers, geometric figures, spaces, etc., they compute various functions and solve equations. In this paper, I want to exhibit models build by mathematicians to study the fundamental components of spaces and, more generally, of mathematical forms. I focus on one area of mathematics where models occupy a central role, namely homotopy theory. (...)
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  28. The "Artificial Mathematician" Objection: Exploring the (Im)Possibility of Automating Mathematical Understanding.Sven Delarivière & Bart Van Kerkhove - 2017 - In B. Sriraman (ed.), Humanizing Mathematics and its Philosophy. Cham: Birkhäuser. pp. 173-198.
    Reuben Hersh confided to us that, about forty years ago, the late Paul Cohen predicted to him that at some unspecified point in the future, mathematicians would be replaced by computers. Rather than focus on computers replacing mathematicians, however, our aim is to consider the (im)possibility of human mathematicians being joined by “artificial mathematicians” in the proving practice—not just as a method of inquiry but as a fellow inquirer.
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  29. Mathematical Abstraction, Conceptual Variation and Identity.Jean-Pierre Marquis - 2014 - In Peter Schroeder-Heister, Gerhard Heinzmann, Wilfred Hodges & Pierre Edouard Bour (eds.), Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, Proceedings of the 14th International Congress. London, UK: pp. 299-322.
    One of the key features of modern mathematics is the adoption of the abstract method. Our goal in this paper is to propose an explication of that method that is rooted in the history of the subject.
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  30. The Limits of Reconstructive Neologicist Epistemology.Eileen S. Nutting - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (273):717-738.
    Wright claims that his and Hale’s abstractionist neologicist project is primarily epistemological in aim. Its epistemological aims include establishing the possibility of a priori mathematical knowledge, and establishing the possibility of reference to abstract mathematical objects. But, as Wright acknowledges, there is a question of how neologicist epistemology applies to actual, ordinary mathematical beliefs. I take up this question, focusing on arithmetic. Following a suggestion of Hale and Wright, I consider the possibility that the neologicist account provides an idealised reconstruction (...)
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  31. The Reality of Field’s Epistemological Challenge to Platonism.David Liggins - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (5):1027-1031.
    In the introduction to his Realism, mathematics and modality, and in earlier papers included in that collection, Hartry Field offered an epistemological challenge to platonism in the philosophy of mathematics. Justin Clarke-Doane Truth, objects, infinity: New perspectives on the philosophy of Paul Benacerraf, 2016) argues that Field’s challenge is an illusion: it does not pose a genuine problem for platonism. My aim is to show that Clarke-Doane’s argument relies on a misunderstanding of Field’s challenge.
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  32. Mathematical Knowledge, the Analytic Method, and Naturalism.Fabio Sterpetti - 2018 - In Sorin Bangu (ed.), Naturalizing Logico-Mathematical Knowledge. Approaches from Philosophy, Psychology and Cognitive Science. New York, Stati Uniti: pp. 268-293.
    This chapter tries to answer the following question: How should we conceive of the method of mathematics, if we take a naturalist stance? The problem arises since mathematical knowledge is regarded as the paradigm of certain knowledge, because mathematics is based on the axiomatic method. Moreover, natural science is deeply mathematized, and science is crucial for any naturalist perspective. But mathematics seems to provide a counterexample both to methodological and ontological naturalism. To face this problem, some authors tried to naturalize (...)
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  33. Modal Ω-Logic: Automata, Neo-Logicism, and Set-Theoretic Realism.Hasen Khudairi - 2019 - In Matteo Vincenzo D'Alfonso & Don Berkich (eds.), On the Cognitive, Ethical, and Scientific Dimensions of Artificial Intelligence. Springer. pp. 65-82.
    This essay examines the philosophical significance of $\Omega$-logic in Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory with choice (ZFC). The duality between coalgebra and algebra permits Boolean-valued algebraic models of ZFC to be interpreted as coalgebras. The modal profile of $\Omega$-logical validity can then be countenanced within a coalgebraic logic, and $\Omega$-logical validity can be defined via deterministic automata. I argue that the philosophical significance of the foregoing is two-fold. First, because the epistemic and modal profiles of $\Omega$-logical validity correspond to those of second-order (...)
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  34. (Probably) Not Companions in Guilt.Sharon Berry - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (9):2285-2308.
    In this paper, I will attempt to develop and defend a common form of intuitive resistance to the companions in guilt argument. I will argue that one can reasonably believe there are promising solutions to the access problem for mathematical realism that don’t translate to moral realism. In particular, I will suggest that the structuralist project of accounting for mathematical knowledge in terms of some form of logical knowledge offers significant hope of success while no analogous approach offers such hope (...)
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  35. Stairway to Heaven: The Abstract Method and Levels of Abstraction in Mathematics.Jean Pierre Marquis & Jean-Pierre Marquis - 2016 - The Mathematical Intelligencer 38 (3):41-51.
    In this paper, following the claims made by various mathematicians, I try to construct a theory of levels of abstraction. I first try to clarify the basic components of the abstract method as it developed in the first quarter of the 20th century. I then submit an explication of the notion of levels of abstraction. In the final section, I briefly explore some of main philosophical consequences of the theory.
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  36. Emily Grosholz and Herbert Breger, Editors. The Growth of Mathematical Knowledge.Brendan P. Larvor - 2002 - Philosophia Mathematica 10 (1):93-96.
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  37. Epistemic Modality and Absolute Decidability.Hasen Khudairi - manuscript
    This paper aims to contribute to the analysis of the nature of mathematical modality, and to the applications of the latter to unrestricted quantification and absolute decidability. Rather than countenancing the interpretational type of mathematical modality as a primitive, I argue that the interpretational type of mathematical modality is a species of epistemic modality. I argue, then, that the framework of two-dimensional semantics ought to be applied to the mathematical setting. The framework permits of a formally precise account of the (...)
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  38. Epistemic Modality, Mind, and Mathematics.Hasen Khudairi - 2021 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the epistemic status of undecidable propositions and abstraction principles in the philosophy of mathematics; to the modal profile of rational propositional intuition; and to the (...)
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  39. Imagination as Self-Knowledge: Kepler on Proclus' Commentary on the First Book of Euclid's Elements.Guy6 Claessens - 2011 - Early Science and Medicine 16 (3):179-199.
    The Neoplatonist Proclus, in his commentary on Euclid's Elements, appears to have been the first to systematically cut imagination's exclusive ties with the sensible realm. According to Proclus, in geometry discursive thinking makes use of innate concepts that are projected on imagination as on a mirror. Despite the crucial role of Proclus' text in early modern epistemology, the concept of a productive imagination seems almost not have been received. It was generally either transplanted into an Aristotelian account of mathematics or (...)
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  40. Proof and Knowledge in Mathematics.Janet Folina - 1996 - Philosophical Quarterly 46 (182):125-127.
  41. Assaying Lakatos's Philosophy of Mathematics.David Corfield - 1997 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 28 (1):99-121.
  42. Weyl, Reichenbach and the Epistemology of Geometry.Ryckman Thomas - 1994 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (6):831-870.
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  43. The Argument From Agreement and Mathematical Realism.Pieranna Garavaso - 1992 - Journal of Philosophical Research 17:173-187.
    Traditionally, in the philosophy of mathematics realists claim that mathematical objects exist independently of the human mind, whereas idealists regard them as mental constructions dependent upon human thought.It is tempting for realists to support their view by appeal to our widespread agreement on mathematical results. Roughly speaking, our agreement is explained by the fact that these results are about the same mathematical objects. It is alleged that the idealist’s appeal to mental constructions precludes any such explanation. I argue that realism (...)
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  44. The ‘Unity of Cognition’ and the Explanation of Mathematical Knowledge.Barry Stroud - 2001 - Philosophical Topics 29 (1/2):415-428.
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  45. Mathematical Epistemology: What Is the Question?Penelope Maddy - 1984 - The Monist 67 (1):46-55.
    The tenor of much recent work in the philosophy of mathematics has been dictated by the popular assumption that Platonism is defunct. Some embrace that assumption and look for alternatives, others deny it and attempt to revive Platonism, but either way it is the starting point. The fate of Platonism took center stage with the appearance of Paul Benacerraf’s “Mathematical truth”, but a decade has passed since then, and the philosophical climate has changed. Most important, the quarter from which Platonism (...)
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  46. Proof and the Virtues of Shared Enquiry.Don Berry - forthcoming - Philosophia Mathematica:nkw022.
    This paper investigates an important aspect of mathematical practice: that proof is required for a finished piece of mathematics. If follows that non-deductive arguments — however convincing — are never sufficient. I explore four aspects of mathematical research that have facilitated the impressive success of the discipline. These I call the Practical Virtues: Permanence, Reliability, Autonomy, and Consensus. I then argue that permitting results to become established on the basis of non-deductive evidence alone would lead to their deterioration. This furnishes (...)
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  47. The Nature of Mathematical Knowledge.Charles Parsons - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (1):129.
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  48. Mathematical Knowledge. [REVIEW]David D. Auerbach - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (2):247.
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  49. José Ferreirós. Mathematical Knowledge and the Interplay of Practices. [REVIEW]Dirk Schlimm - 2017 - Philosophia Mathematica 25 (1):139-143.
  50. III-Reference by Abstraction.ØYstein Linnebo - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (1pt1):45-71.
    Frege suggests that criteria of identity should play a central role in the explanation of reference, especially to abstract objects. This paper develops a precise model of how we can come to refer to a particular kind of abstract object, namely, abstract letter types. It is argued that the resulting abstract referents are ‘metaphysically lightweight’.
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