Philosophy of Mathematics

Edited by Øystein Linnebo (University of Oslo)
Assistant editor: Sam Roberts (University of Oslo)
33 found
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  1. added 2019-08-23
    Wittgenstein on Cantor's Proof.Chrysoula Gitsoulis - 2018 - In Gabriele M. Mras, Paul Weingartner & Bernhard Ritter (eds.), Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics, Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society, Vol. XXVI, 41th International Wittgenstein Symposium, Kirchberg am Wechsel, Austria. De Gruyter. pp. 67-69.
    Cantor’s proof that the reals are uncountable forms a central pillar in the edifices of higher order recursion theory and set theory. It also has important applications in model theory, and in the foundations of topology and analysis. Due partly to these factors, and to the simplicity and elegance of the proof, it has come to be accepted as part of the ABC’s of mathematics. But even if as an Archimedean point it supports tomes of mathematical theory, there is a (...)
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  2. added 2019-08-19
    Otávio Bueno and Steven French.Applying Mathematics: Immersion, Inference, Interpretation.Anthony F. Peressini - forthcoming - Philosophia Mathematica:nkz015.
    Otávio Bueno* * and Steven French.** ** Applying Mathematics: Immersion, Inference, Interpretation. Oxford University Press, 2018. ISBN: 978-0-19-881504-4 978-0-19-185286-2. doi:10.1093/oso/9780198815044. 001.0001. Pp. xvii + 257.
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  3. added 2019-08-18
    Ground and Explanation in Mathematics.Marc Lange - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19 (33).
    This paper explores whether there is any relation between mathematical proofs that specify the grounds of the theorem being proved and mathematical proofs that explain why the theorem obtains. The paper argues that a mathematical fact’s grounds do not, simply by virtue of grounding it, thereby explain why that fact obtains. It argues that oftentimes, a proof specifying a mathematical fact’s grounds fails to explain why that fact obtains whereas any explanation of the fact does not specify its ground. The (...)
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  4. added 2019-08-16
    Remarks on Wittgenstein, Gödel, Chaitin, Incompleteness, Impossiblity and the Psychological Basis of Science and Mathematics.Michael Richard Starks - 2019 - In Remarks on Impossibility, Incompleteness, Paraconsistency, Undecidability, Randomness, Computability, Paradox, Uncertainty and the Limits of Reason in Chaitin, Wittgenstein, Hofstadter, Wolpert, Doria, da Costa, Godel, Searle, Rodych, Berto, Floyd, Moyal. Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press. pp. 24-38.
    It is commonly thought that such topics as Impossibility, Incompleteness, Paraconsistency, Undecidability, Randomness, Computability, Paradox, Uncertainty and the Limits of Reason are disparate scientific physical or mathematical issues having little or nothing in common. I suggest that they are largely standard philosophical problems (i.e., language games) which were resolved by Wittgenstein over 80 years ago. -/- Wittgenstein also demonstrated the fatal error in regarding mathematics or language or our behavior in general as a unitary coherent logical ‘system,’ rather than as (...)
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  5. added 2019-08-14
    Mathematical and Moral Disagreement.Silvia Jonas - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    The existence of fundamental moral disagreements is a central problem for moral realism and has often been contrasted with an alleged absence of disagreement in mathematics. However, mathematicians do in fact disagree on fundamental questions, for example on which set-theoretic axioms are true, and some philosophers have argued that this increases the plausibility of moral vis-à-vis mathematical realism. I argue that the analogy between mathemat- ical and moral disagreement is not as straightforward as those arguments present it. In particular, I (...)
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  6. added 2019-08-11
    Neuer Beweis für die Möglichkeit einer Wohlordnung.Ernst Zermelo - 1907 - Mathematische Annalen 65 (1):107-128.
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  7. added 2019-08-09
    Teaching and Learning Guide for "Explanation in Mathematics: Proofs and Practice".William D'Alessandro - forthcoming - Philosophy Compass.
    This is a teaching and learning guide to accompany "Explanation in Mathematics: Proofs and Practice".
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  8. added 2019-08-08
    How Can Abstract Objects of Mathematics Be Known?†.Ladislav Kvasz - forthcoming - Philosophia Mathematica:nkz011.
    The aim of the paper is to answer some arguments raised against mathematical structuralism developed by Michael Resnik. These arguments stress the abstractness of mathematical objects, especially their causal inertness, and conclude that mathematical objects, the structures posited by Resnik included, are inaccessible to human cognition. In the paper I introduce a distinction between abstract and ideal objects and argue that mathematical objects are primarily ideal. I reconstruct some aspects of the instrumental practice of mathematics, such as symbolic manipulations or (...)
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  9. added 2019-08-06
    Explanation in Mathematics: Proofs and Practice.William D'Alessandro - forthcoming - Philosophy Compass.
    Mathematicians distinguish between proofs that explain their results and those that merely prove. This paper explores the nature of explanatory proofs, their role in mathematical practice, and some of the reasons why philosophers should care about them. Among the questions addressed are the following: what kinds of proofs are generally explanatory (or not)? What makes a proof explanatory? Do all mathematical explanations involve proof in an essential way? Are there really such things as explanatory proofs, and if so, how do (...)
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  10. added 2019-08-03
    Enrico Martino.Intuitionistic Proof Versus Classical Truth, The Role of Brouwer’s Creative Subject in Intuitionistic Mathematics.Wim Veldman - forthcoming - Philosophia Mathematica:nkz013.
    MartinoEnrico.* * Intuitionistic Proof Versus Classical Truth, The Role of Brouwer’s Creative Subject in Intuitionistic Mathematics. Logic, Methodology and the Unity of Science; 42. Springer, 2018. ISBN: 978-3-319-74356-1 ; 978-3-030-08971-9, 978-3-319-74357-8. Pp. xiii + 170.
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  11. added 2019-07-30
    What Types Should Not Be.Bruno Bentzen - forthcoming - Philosophia Mathematica:nkz014.
    In a series of papers Ladyman and Presnell raise an interesting challenge of providing a pre-mathematical justification for homotopy type theory. In response, they propose what they claim to be an informal semantics for homotopy type theory where types and terms are regarded as mathematical concepts. The aim of this paper is to raise some issues which need to be resolved for the successful development of their types-as-concepts interpretation.
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  12. added 2019-07-30
    Frege on Referentiality and Julius Caesar in Grundgesetze §10.Bruno Bentzen - forthcoming - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic.
    This paper aims to answer the question of whether or not Frege's solution limited to value-ranges and truth-values proposed to resolve the "problem of indeterminacy of reference" in section 10 of Grundgesetze is a violation of his principle of complete determination, which states that a predicate must be defined to apply for all objects in general. Closely related to this doubt is the common allegation that Frege was unable to solve a persistent version of the Caesar problem for value-ranges. It (...)
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  13. added 2019-07-26
    Bunge's Mathematical Structuralism is Not a Fiction.Jean-Pierre Marquis - 2019 - In Michael Robert Matthews (ed.), Mario Bunge: A Centenary Festschrift. New York, NY, USA: pp. 587-608.
    In this paper, I explore Bunge’s fictionism in philosophy of mathematics. After an overview of Bunge’s views, in particular his mathematical structuralism, I argue that the comparison between mathematical objects and fictions ultimately fails. I then sketch a different ontology for mathematics, based on Thomasson’s metaphysical work. I conclude that mathematics deserves its own ontology, and that, in the end, much work remains to be done to clarify the various forms of dependence that are involved in mathematical knowledge, in particular (...)
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  14. added 2019-07-24
    Mathematics and Explanatory Generality: Nothing but Cognitive Salience.Juha Saatsi & Robert Knowles - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    We demonstrate how real progress can be made in the debate surrounding the enhanced indispensability argument. Drawing on a counterfactual theory of explanation, well-motivated independently of the debate, we provide a novel analysis of ‘explanatory generality’ and how mathematics is involved in its procurement. On our analysis, mathematics’ sole explanatory contribution to the procurement of explanatory generality is to make counterfactual information about physical dependencies easier to grasp and reason with for creatures like us. This gives precise content to key (...)
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  15. added 2019-07-24
    Anaxagoras, the Thoroughgoing Infinitist: The Relation Between His Teachings on Multitude and on Heterogeneity.Miloš Arsenijević, Saša Popović & Miloš Vuletić - 2019 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 15 (1):35-70.
    In the analysis of Anaxagoras’ physics in view of the relation between his teachings on multitude and heterogeneity, two central questions emerge: 1) How can the structure of the universe considered purely mereo-topologically help us explain that at the first cosmic stage no qualitative difference is manifest in spite of the fact that the entire qualitative heterogeneity is supposedly already present there? 2) How can heterogeneity become manifest at the second stage, resulting from the noûs intervention, if according to fragment (...)
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  16. added 2019-07-22
    In Defense of Benacerraf’s Multiple-Reductions Argument.Michele Ginammi - 2019 - Philosophia Mathematica 27 (2):276-288.
    I discuss Steinhart’s argument against Benacerraf’s famous multiple-reductions argument to the effect that numbers cannot be sets. Steinhart offers a mathematical argument according to which there is only one series of sets to which the natural numbers can be reduced, and thus attacks Benacerraf’s assumption that there are multiple reductions of numbers to sets. I will argue that Steinhart’s argument is problematic and should not be accepted.
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  17. added 2019-07-19
    Modal Security.Justin Clarke-Doane & Dan Baras - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Modal Security is an increasingly discussed proposed necessary condition on undermining defeat. Modal Security says, roughly, that if evidence undermines (rather than rebuts) one’s belief, then one gets reason to doubt the belief's safety or sensitivity. The primary interest of the principle is that it seems to entail that influential epistemological arguments, including Evolutionary Debunking Arguments against moral realism and the Benacerraf-Field Challenge for mathematical realism, are unsound. The purpose of this paper is to critically examine Modal Security in detail. (...)
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  18. added 2019-07-18
    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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  19. added 2019-07-05
    The Later Wittgenstein’s Guide to Contradictions.Alessio Persichetti - forthcoming - Synthese:1-17.
    This paper portrays the later Wittgenstein’s conception of contradictions and his therapeutic approach to them. I will focus on and give relevance to the Lectures on the Foundations of Mathematics, plus the Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics. First, I will explain why Wittgenstein’s attitude towards contradictions is rooted in: a rejection of the debate about realism and anti-realism in mathematics; and Wittgenstein’s endorsement of logical pluralism. Then, I will explain Wittgenstein’s therapeutic approach towards contradictions, and why it means that (...)
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  20. added 2019-07-04
    Choice-Free Stone Duality.Nick Bezhanishvili & Wesley H. Holliday - forthcoming - Journal of Symbolic Logic.
    The standard topological representation of a Boolean algebra via the clopen sets of a Stone space requires a nonconstructive choice principle, equivalent to the Boolean Prime Ideal Theorem. In this paper, we describe a choice-free topological representation of Boolean algebras. This representation uses a subclass of the spectral spaces that Stone used in his representation of distributive lattices via compact open sets. It also takes advantage of Tarski’s observation that the regular open sets of any topological space form a Boolean (...)
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  21. added 2019-07-04
    Infinite Barbarians.Daniel Nolan - 2019 - Ratio 32 (3):173-181.
    This paper discusses an infinite regress that looms behind a certain kind of historical explanation. The movement of one barbarian group is often explained by the movement of others, but those movements in turn call for an explanation. While their explanation can again be the movement of yet another group of barbarians, if this sort of explanation does not stop somewhere we are left with an infinite regress of barbarians. While that regress would be vicious, it cannot be accommodated by (...)
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  22. added 2019-07-04
    Algebraic and Topological Semantics for Inquisitive Logic Via Choice-Free Duality.Nick Bezhanishvili, Gianluca Grilletti & Wesley H. Holliday - 2019 - In Rosalie Iemhoff, Michael Moortgat & Ruy de Queiroz (eds.), Logic, Language, Information, and Computation. WoLLIC 2019. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 11541. Springer. pp. 35-52.
    We introduce new algebraic and topological semantics for inquisitive logic. The algebraic semantics is based on special Heyting algebras, which we call inquisitive algebras, with propositional valuations ranging over only the ¬¬-fixpoints of the algebra. We show how inquisitive algebras arise from Boolean algebras: for a given Boolean algebra B, we define its inquisitive extension H(B) and prove that H(B) is the unique inquisitive algebra having B as its algebra of ¬¬-fixpoints. We also show that inquisitive algebras determine Medvedev’s logic (...)
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  23. added 2019-07-03
    The Ontological Import of Adding Proper Classes.Alfredo Roque Freire & Rodrigo de Alvarenga Freire - 2019 - Manuscrito 42 (2):85-112.
    In this article, we analyse the ontological import of adding classes to set theories. We assume that this increment is well represented by going from ZF system to NBG. We thus consider the standard techniques of reducing one system to the other. Novak proved that from a model of ZF we can build a model of NBG (and vice versa), while Shoenfield have shown that from a proof in NBG of a set-sentence we can generate a proof in ZF of (...)
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  24. added 2019-07-02
    The Small Number System.Eric Margolis - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    I argue that the human mind includes an innate domain-specific system for representing precise small numerical quantities. This theory contrasts with object-tracking theories and with domain-general theories that only make use of mental models. I argue that there is a good amount of evidence for innate representations of small numerical quantities and that such a domain-specific system has explanatory advantages when infants’ poor working memory is taken into account. I also show that the mental models approach requires previously unnoticed domain-specific (...)
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  25. added 2019-07-02
    Sofia A. Yanovskaya: The Marxist Pioneer of Mathematical Logic in the Soviet Union.Dimitris Kilakos - 2019 - Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science 6:49-64.
    K. Marx’s 200th jubilee coincides with the celebration of the 85 years from the first publication of his “Mathematical Manuscripts” in 1933. Its editor, Sofia Alexandrovna Yanovskaya (1896–1966), was a renowned Soviet mathematician, whose significant studies on the foundations of mathematics and mathematical logic, as well as on the history and philosophy of mathematics are unduly neglected nowadays. Yanovskaya, as a militant Marxist, was actively engaged in the ideological confrontation with idealism and its influence on modern mathematics and their interpretation. (...)
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  26. added 2019-06-29
    Points as Higher-Order Constructs: Whitehead’s Method of Extensive Abstraction.Achille C. Varzi - forthcoming - In Stewart Shapiro & Geoffrey Hellman (eds.), The Continuous. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Euclid’s definition of a point as “that which has no part” has been a major source of controversy in relation to the epistemological and ontological presuppositions of classical geometry, from the medieval and modern disputes on indivisibilism to the full development of point-free geometries in the 20th century. Such theories stem from the general idea that all talk of points as putative lower-dimensional entities must and can be recovered in terms of suitable higher-order constructs involving only extended regions (or bodies). (...)
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  27. added 2019-06-24
    The Uncanny Accuracy of God's Mathematical Beliefs.Robert Knowles - forthcoming - Religious Studies.
    I show how mathematical platonism combined with belief in the God of classical theism can respond to Field's epistemological objection. I defend an account of divine mathematical knowledge by showing that it falls out of an independently motivated general account of divine knowledge. I use this to explain the accuracy of God's mathematical beliefs, which in turn explains the accuracy of our own. My arguments provide good news for theistic platonists, while also shedding new light on Field's influential objection.
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  28. added 2019-06-20
    Proof That Wittgenstein is Correct About Gödel.P. Olcott - manuscript
    When we sum up the results of Gödel's 1931 Incompleteness Theorem by formalizing Wittgenstein’s verbal specification such that this formalization meets Gödel's own sufficiency requirement: ”Every epistemological antinomy can likewise be used for a similar undecidability proof." then we can see that Gödel's famous logic sentence is only unprovable in PA because it is untrue in PA because it specifies the logical equivalence to self contradiction in PA.
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  29. added 2019-06-20
    Hitting a Moving Target: Gödel, Carnap, and Mathematics as Logical Syntax.Gregory Lavers - 2019 - Philosophia Mathematica 27 (2):219-243.
    From 1953 to 1959 Gödel worked on a response to Carnap’s philosophy of mathematics. The drafts display Gödel’s familiarity with Carnap’s position from The Logical Syntax of Language, but they received a dismissive reaction on their eventual, posthumous, publication. Gödel’s two principal points, however, will here be defended. Gödel, though, had wished simply to append a few paragraphs to show that the same arguments apply to Carnap’s later views. Carnap’s position, however, had changed significantly in the intervening years, and to (...)
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  30. added 2019-06-15
    A Theory of Particular Sets.Paul Blain Levy - manuscript
    ZFC has sentences that quantify over all sets or all ordinals, without restriction. Some have argued that sentences of this kind lack a determinate meaning. We propose a set theory called TOPS, using Natural Deduction, that avoids this problem by speaking only about particular sets.
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  31. added 2019-06-11
    Drawing Boundaries.Barry Smith - 2019 - In Timothy Tambassi (ed.), The Philosophy of GIS. New York: Springer. pp. 137-158.
    In “On Drawing Lines on a Map” (1995), I suggested that the different ways we have of drawing lines on maps open up a new perspective on ontology, resting on a distinction between two sorts of boundaries: fiat and bona fide. “Fiat” means, roughly: human-demarcation-induced. “Bona fide” means, again roughly: a boundary constituted by some real physical discontinuity. I presented a general typology of boundaries based on this opposition and showed how it generates a corresponding typology of the different sorts (...)
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  32. added 2019-06-03
    Saving Proof From Paradox: Gödel’s Paradox and the Inconsistency of Informal Mathematics.Fenner Stanley Tanswell - 2016 - In Peter Verdee & Holger Andreas (eds.), Logical Studies of Paraconsistent Reasoning in Science and Mathematics. Springer. pp. 159-173.
    In this paper I shall consider two related avenues of argument that have been used to make the case for the inconsistency of mathematics: firstly, Gödel’s paradox which leads to a contradiction within mathematics and, secondly, the incompatibility of completeness and consistency established by Gödel’s incompleteness theorems. By bringing in considerations from the philosophy of mathematical practice on informal proofs, I suggest that we should add to the two axes of completeness and consistency a third axis of formality and informality. (...)
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  33. added 2019-05-28
    Review of Richard G. Heck, Jr: Reading Frege’s Grundgesetze. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. [REVIEW]Marcus Rossberg - 2014 - Notre Dame Philosophical Review 11.