The most central metaphysical question about phenomenal consciousness is that of what constitutes phenomenal consciousness, whereas the most central epistemic question about consciousness is that of whether science can eventually provide an explanation of phenomenal consciousness. Many philosophers have argued that science doesn't have the means to answer the question of what consciousness is (the explanatory gap) but that consciousness nonetheless is fully determined by the physical facts underlying it (no metaphysical gap). Others have argued that the explanatory gap in (...) the sciences entails a metaphysical gap. The explanatory gap exists, they say, because there are two fundamental properties in the world that do not reduce to one another: Phenomenal and physical. This position is also known as 'property dualism'. A famous argument, formulated and defended at great length by David Chalmers, uses conceptual tools to argue for a metaphysical gap. When we just look at what the notion of phenomenal consciousness implies, we will find that it doesn't rule out that there could be entities functionally and physically identical to us but without phenomenal consciousness. A couple of further argumentative steps can get us from here to the conclusion that laying down the physical facts of our world does not necessitate phenomenal consciousness. I argue that this argument is compelling but that accepting the conclusion doesn't have the implication that science cannot discover what consciousness is. I begin by outlining and assessing a number of different positions philosophers and scientists have recently defended regarding the link between neurological systems and consciousness, I then argue that even if property dualism is true, that doesn't necessarily prevent the sciences from discovering what constitutes consciousness. That is, there may be no explanatory gap even if there is a metaphysical gap. (shrink)
Welche Art von Gegenständen untersucht die Mathematik und in welchem Sinne existieren diese Gegenstände? Warum dürfen wir die Aussagen der Mathematik zu unserem Wissen zählen und wie lassen sich diese Aussagen rechtfertigen? Eine Philosophie der Mathematik versucht solche Fragen zu beantworten. In dieser Einführung stellen wir maßgeblichen Positionen in der Philosophie der Mathematik vor und formulieren die Essenz dieser Positionen in möglichst einfachen Thesen. Der Leser erfährt, auf welche Philosophen eine Position zurückgeht und in welchem historischen Kontext diese entstand. Ausgehend (...) von Grundintuitionen und wissenschaftlichen Befunden lässt sich für oder gegen eine These in der Philosophie der Mathematik argumentieren. Solche Argumente bilden den zweiten Schwerpunkt dieses Buches. Das Buch soll den Leser dazu anregen über die Philosophie der Mathematik nachzudenken und eine eigene Position zu formulieren und für diese zu argumentieren. (shrink)
This paper provides comments on Susan Schneider's paper 'Does the Mathematical Nature of Physics Undermine Physicalism?'. In particular, it argues that, in contrast with what Schneider suggests, mathematical fictionalism is not a psychologistic view in any interesting sense.
This monograph offers a fresh perspective on the applicability of mathematics in science. It explores what mathematics must be so that its applications to the empirical world do not constitute a mystery. In the process, readers are presented with a new version of mathematical structuralism. The author details a philosophy of mathematics in which the problem of its applicability, particularly in physics, in all its forms can be explained and justified. Chapters cover: mathematics as a formal science, mathematical ontology: what (...) does it mean to exist, mathematical structures: what are they and how do we know them, how different layers of mathematical structuring relate to each other and to perceptual structures, and how to use mathematics to find out how the world is. The book simultaneously develops along two lines, both inspired and enlightened by Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological philosophy. One line leads to the establishment of a particular version of mathematical structuralism, free of “naturalist” and empiricist bias. The other leads to a logical-epistemological explanation and justification of the applicability of mathematics carried out within a unique structuralist perspective. This second line points to the “unreasonable” effectiveness of mathematics in physics as a means of representation, a tool, and a source of not always logically justified but useful and effective heuristic strategies. (shrink)
This essay will inform the reader about Kant’s views on mathematics and aesthetics. It will also critically discuss these views and offer further suggestions and personal opinions from the author’s side. Kant (1724-1804) was not a mathematician, nor was he an artist. One must even admit that he had little understanding of higher mathematics and that he did not have much of a theory that could be called a “philosophy of mathematics” either. But he formulated a very influential aesthetic theory (...) that is contained in his “Critique of the Power of Aesthetic Judgment” (1790), and his views on mathematics, especially those that compare it with philosophy, are distinctive and worthy of our attention. Hence, combining mathematics and aesthetics, asking whether mathematics can be beautiful and why and how it can or cannot be so called, according to Kant’s theory, will be particularly interesting. This essay has three parts: it discusses mathematics, aesthetics, and the aesthetics of mathematics, primarily in Kantian perspectives but also in ways that critically evaluate those perspectives. (shrink)
This chapter situates Mill’s System of Logic (1843/1872) in the context of some of the meta-logical themes and disputes characteristic of the 19th century as well as Mill’s empiricism. Particularly, by placing the Logic in relation to Whately’s (1827) Elements of Logic and Mill’s response to the “great paradox” of the informativeness of syllogistic reasoning, the chapter explores the development of Mill’s views on the foundation, function, and the relation between ratiocination and induction. It provides a survey of the Mill-Whewell (...) debate on the nature of induction, Mill’s account of putatively a priori disciplines such as the science of number, and Frege’s criticisms of the Logic as psychologistic. (shrink)
I contend that mathematical domains are freestanding institutional entities that, at least typically, are introduced to serve representational functions. In this paper, I outline an account of institutional reality and a supporting metaontological perspective that clarify the content of this thesis. I also argue that a philosophy of mathematics that has this thesis as its central tenet can account for the objectivity, necessity, and atemporality of mathematics.
A pretense theory of a given discourse is a theory that claims that we do not believe or assert the propositions expressed by the sentences we token (speak, write, and so on) when taking part in that discourse. Instead, according to pretense theory, we are speaking from within a pretense. According to pretense theories of mathematics, we engage with mathematics as we do a pretense. We do not use mathematical language to make claims that express propositions and, thus, we do (...) not use mathematical discourse to make claims that are either true or false. In this paper I make use of recent findings from cognitive neuroscience and developmental science to suggest that pretense theories of mathematics fail. 1 Introduction 2 The Autism Objection 2.1 Autism and pretense 2.2 Autistic engagement with mathematics 2.2.1 Cortical folding 2.2.2 The language of mathematics 3 The Onset of the Number Sense and the Recognition of Pretense 3.1 A difference in neurology 3.2 Young and no numbers 3.2.1 When and where is the difference? 3.2.2 Damaged HIPS without impairment to engagement with fiction 4 Concluding Remarks. (shrink)
In 1913, in a draft for a new Preface for the second edition of the Logical Investigations, Edmund Husserl reveals to his readers that "The source of all my studies and the first source of my epistemological difficulties lies in my first works on the philosophy of arithmetic and mathematics in general", i.e. his Habilitationsschrift and the Philosophy of Arithmetic: "I carefully studied the consciousness constituting the amount, first the collective consciousness (consciousness of quantity, of multiplicity) in its simplest and (...) higher levels (consciousness of sums, sums of sums etc.). I immediately separated proper (intuitive) and symbolic consciousness, in the characterization of the former I hit the radical difference of categorial consciousness [...] and sensuous consciousness of unity." Later on, in the Third Investigation, Husserl makes some very specific claims, that are of considerable importance to assess the development of his early works and their relation to his later phenomenology: "This first work of mine (an elaboration of my Habilitationsschrift, [...], 1887) should be compared with all assertions of the present work on compounds, moments of unity, complexes, wholes and objects of higher order. I am sorry that in many recent treatments of the doctrine of "Gestalt-qualities", this work has mostly been ignored, though quite a lot of the thought-content of later treatments by Cornelius, Meinong etc., of questions of analysis, apprehension of plurality and complexion is already to be found, differently expressed, in my Philosophy of Arithmetic. I think it would still be of use today to consult this work on the phenomenological and ontological issues in question, especially since it is the first work that attached importance to acts and objects of higher order and investigated them thoroughly." Hence, at the time of the Ideas, Husserl retrospectively considers his first works4 as being still relevant for phenomenological issues. Not only does Husserl advance a very interesting priority claim with respect to Von Ehrenfels’ development of the notion of Gestalt and Meinong’s development of Gegenstandstheorie, but also a strong affirmation of continuity and coherence of his position from 1887 all the way up to 1913, encompassing the alleged “revolution” in his position from psychologism to anti-psychologism in the 1890s. Indeed, according to much of the recent secondary literature, in 1894, right in the middle of the ten “incubation” years between the Philosophy of Arithmetic and the Logical Investigations, Frege’s destructive review would have converted Husserl to antipsychologism practically overnight. This gives us two conflicting interpretations: on the one hand, Husserl himself in 1913 still seems to approve of the Philosophy of Arithmetic and even considers it to contain valuable phenomenological material, on the other, it is routinely dismissed by much of the secondary literature as hopelessly psychologistic. So which one is it: do we have a phenomenological arithmetic or a psychologistic arithmetic in Husserl’s first book? On balance, I think that Husserl in his Philosophy of Arithmetic developed a position that does not fall prey to the exaggerated and poorly aimed critiques of Frege, while at the same time, as a descriptive psychology of the genesis and constitution of number, it can certainly be considered as providing phenomenologically meaningful analyses, though of course not made from within an explicitly transcendental phenomenological framework. (shrink)
According to the methodology of cognitive science we consider a hypothesis (justified partially by cognitive applications of computer science), that the mind functions similarly to a computer. Philosophical consequences of this thesis are as follows: (1) there exists a mental code (similar to the code of computer program); (2) this code can be represented as one unique number; (3) this number can be computable or non-computable.
There are mathematical structures with elements that cannot be distinguished by the properties they have within that structure. For instance within the field of complex numbers the two square roots of −1, i and −i, have the same algebraic properties in that field. So how do we distinguish between them? Imbedding the complex numbers in a bigger structure, the quaternions, allows us to algebraically tell them apart. But a similar problem appears for this larger structure. There seems to be always (...) a background and a context that we rely upon. Thus mathematicians naturally make use of Kantian intuition and references fixed by names and denotations. I argue that such features cannot be avoided. (shrink)
This paper considers the question of whether Mill's account of the nature and justificatory foundations of deductive logic is psychologistic. Logical psychologism asserts the dependency of logic on psychology. Frequently, this dependency arises as a result of a metaphysical thesis asserting the psychological nature of the subject matter of logic. A study of Mill's System of Logic and his Examination reveals that Mill held an equivocal view of the subject matter of logic, sometimes treating it as a set of psychological (...) processes and at other times as the objects of those processes. The consequences of each of these views upon the justificatory foundations of logic are explored. The paper concludes that, despite his providing logic with a prescriptive function, and despite his avoidance of conceptualism, Mill's theory fails to provide deductive logic with a justificatory foundation that is independent of psychology. (shrink)
In this paper we show that the field of the real numbers is an intentional object in the sense specified by Roman Ingarden in his Das literarische Kunstwer and Der Streit um die Existenz der Welt. An ontological characteristics of a classic example of an intentional object, i.e. a literary character, is developed. There are three principal elements of such an object: the author, the text and the entity in which the literary character forms the content. In the case of (...) the real numbers the triad consists of Richard Dedekind, his work Steitigkeit und irratinale Zahlen, and the intentional object determined by this work. Showing that we are indeed faced with the inten-tional object we analyse three moments: two-sidedness of the formal structure of the intentional object, the moment of its existentional derivation, and schematism of the intentional object. Since there are many constructions of the real numbers known in mathematics, we show what relation obtains between Dedekind's and Cantor's constructions of the real numbers as these are taken as intentional objects. Moreover, we show what relation obtains between Dedekind's construction and the axiomatic characteristics of the real numbers. (shrink)
The paper attempts to shed light on Frege's views on the relation of logic to truth by looking at several passages in which he compares it to the relation of ethics to the good and aesthetics to the beautiful. It turns out that Frege makes four distinct points by means of these comparisons only one of which both concerns truth and makes use of distinctive features of ethics and aesthetics. This point is that logic is about reaching truth in the (...) way that ethics is about reaching the good and aesthetics the beautiful. I then sketch how Frege can plausibly maintain this view about logic. (A more detailed version of Frege's positive view is given in my unpublished "Frege on the Relations Between Logic and Thought."). (shrink)
Platonism is the most pervasive philosophy of mathematics. Indeed, it can be argued that an inarticulate, half-conscious Platonism is nearly universal among mathematicians. The basic idea is that mathematical entities exist outside space and time, outside thought and matter, in an abstract realm. In the more eloquent words of Edward Everett, a distinguished nineteenth-century American scholar, "in pure mathematics we contemplate absolute truths which existed in the divine mind before the morning stars sang together, and which will continue to exist (...) there when the last of their radiant host shall have fallen from heaven." In What is Mathematics, Really?, renowned mathematician Rueben Hersh takes these eloquent words and this pervasive philosophy to task, in a subversive attack on traditional philosophies of mathematics, most notably, Platonism and formalism. Virtually all philosophers of mathematics treat it as isolated, timeless, ahistorical, inhuman. Hersh argues the contrary, that mathematics must be understood as a human activity, a social phenomenon, part of human culture, historically evolved, and intelligible only in a social context. Mathematical objects are created by humans, not arbitrarily, but from activity with existing mathematical objects, and from the needs of science and daily life. Hersh pulls the screen back to reveal mathematics as seen by professionals, debunking many mathematical myths, and demonstrating how the "humanist" idea of the nature of mathematics more closely resembles how mathematicians actually work. At the heart of the book is a fascinating historical account of the mainstream of philosophy--ranging from Pythagoras, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, and Kant, to Bertrand Russell, David Hilbert, Rudolph Carnap, and Willard V.O. Quine--followed by the mavericks who saw mathematics as a human artifact, including Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Mill, Peirce, Dewey, and Lakatos. In his epilogue, Hersh reveals that this is no mere armchair debate, of little consequence to the outside world. He contends that Platonism and elitism fit well together, that Platonism in fact is used to justify the claim that "some people just can't learn math." The humanist philosophy, on the other hand, links mathematics with geople, with society, and with history. It fits with liberal anti-elitism and its historical striving for universal literacy, universal higher education, and universal access to knowledge and culture. Thus Hersh's argument has educational and political ramifications. Written by the co-author of The Mathematical Experience, which won the American Book Award in 1983, this volume reflects an insider's view of mathematical life, based on twenty years of doing research on advanced mathematical problems, thirty-five years of teaching graduates and undergraduates, and many long hours of listening, talking to, and reading philosophers. A clearly written and highly iconoclastic book, it is sure to be hotly debated by anyone with a passionate interest in mathematics or the philosophy of science. (shrink)
Frege's diatribes against psychologism have often been taken to imply that he thought that logic and thought have nothing to do with each other. I argue against this interpretation and attribute to Frege a view on which the two are tightly connected. The connection, however, derives not from logic's being founded on the empirical laws of thought but rather from thought's depending constitutively on the application to it of logic. I call this view 'psycho-logicism.'.