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Taking the Easy Road Out of Dodge

Mind 121 (484):951-965 (2012)

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  1. Existence, Mathematical Nominalism, and Meta-Ontology: An Objection to Azzouni on Criteria for Existence.Farbod Akhlaghi-Ghaffarokh - 2018 - Philosophia Mathematica 26 (2):251-265.
    Jody Azzouni argues that whilst it is indeterminate what the criteria for existence are, there is a criterion that has been collectively adopted to use ‘exist’ that we can employ to argue for positions in ontology. I raise and defend a novel objection to Azzouni: his view has the counterintuitive consequence that the facts regarding what exists can and will change when users of the word ‘exist’ change what criteria they associate with its usage. Considering three responses, I argue Azzouni (...)
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  • God and Abstract Objects: The Coherence of Theism: Aseity.William Lane Craig - 2017 - Springer.
    This book is an exploration and defense of the coherence of classical theism’s doctrine of divine aseity in the face of the challenge posed by Platonism with respect to abstract objects. A synoptic work in analytic philosophy of religion, the book engages discussions in philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of language, metaphysics, and metaontology. It addresses absolute creationism, non-Platonic realism, fictionalism, neutralism, and alternative logics and semantics, among other topics. The book offers a helpful taxonomy of the wide range of options (...)
     
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  • Philosophy of Mathematics for the Masses : Extending the Scope of the Philosophy of Mathematics.Stefan Buijsman - 2016 - Dissertation, Stockholm University
    One of the important discussions in the philosophy of mathematics, is that centered on Benacerraf’s Dilemma. Benacerraf’s dilemma challenges theorists to provide an epistemology and semantics for mathematics, based on their favourite ontology. This challenge is the point on which all philosophies of mathematics are judged, and clarifying how we might acquire mathematical knowledge is one of the main occupations of philosophers of mathematics. In this thesis I argue that this discussion has overlooked an important part of mathematics, namely mathematics (...)
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  • True Nominalism: Referring Versus Coding.Jody Azzouni & Otávio Bueno - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (3):781-816.
    One major motivation for nominalism, at least according to Hartry Field, is the desirability of intrinsic explanations: explanations that don’t invoke objects that are causally irrelevant to the phenomena being explained. There is something right about the search for such explanations. But that search must be carefully implemented. Nothing is gained if, to avoid a certain class of objects, one only introduces other objects and relations that are just as nominalistically questionable. We will argue that this is the case for (...)
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  • The Indispensability Argument and the Nature of Mathematical Objects.Matteo Plebani - 2018 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 33 (2):249-263.
    I will contrast two conceptions of the nature of mathematical objects: the conception of mathematical objects as preconceived objects, and heavy duty platonism. I will argue that friends of the indispensability argument are committed to some metaphysical theses and that one promising way to motivate such theses is to adopt heavy duty platonism. On the other hand, combining the indispensability argument with the conception of mathematical objects as preconceived objects yields an unstable position. The conclusion is that the metaphysical commitments (...)
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  • Deflationary Nominalism and Puzzle Avoidance.David Mark Kovacs - 2019 - Philosophia Mathematica 27 (1):88-104.
    In a series of works, Jody Azzouni has defended deflationary nominalism, the view that certain sentences quantifying over mathematical objects are literally true, although such objects do not exist. One alleged attraction of this view is that it avoids various philosophical puzzles about mathematical objects. I argue that this thought is misguided. I first develop an ontologically neutral counterpart of Field’s reliability challenge and argue that deflationary nominalism offers no distinctive answer to it. I then show how this reasoning generalizes (...)
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  • Road Work Ahead: Heavy Machinery on the Easy Road.M. Colyvan - 2012 - Mind 121 (484):1031-1046.
    In this paper I reply to Jody Azzouni, Otávio Bueno, Mary Leng, David Liggins, and Stephen Yablo, who offer defences of so-called ‘ easy road ’ nominalist strategies in the philosophy of mathematics.
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  • The Eleatic and the Indispensabilist.Russell Marcus - 2015 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 30 (3):415-429.
    The debate over whether we should believe that mathematical objects exist quickly leads to the question of how to determine what we should believe. Indispensabilists claim that we should believe in the existence of mathematical objects because of their ineliminable roles in scientific theory. Eleatics argue that only objects with causal properties exist. Mark Colyvan’s recent defenses of Quine’s indispensability argument against some contemporary eleatics attempt to provide reasons to favor the indispensabilist’s criterion. I show that Colyvan’s argument is not (...)
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  • Infinitesimal Idealization, Easy Road Nominalism, and Fractional Quantum Statistics.Elay Shech - 2019 - Synthese 196 (5):1963-1990.
    It has been recently debated whether there exists a so-called “easy road” to nominalism. In this essay, I attempt to fill a lacuna in the debate by making a connection with the literature on infinite and infinitesimal idealization in science through an example from mathematical physics that has been largely ignored by philosophers. Specifically, by appealing to John Norton’s distinction between idealization and approximation, I argue that the phenomena of fractional quantum statistics bears negatively on Mary Leng’s proposed path to (...)
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  • Why Deflationary Nominalists Shouldn’T Be Agnostics.Jody Azzouni - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (5):1143-1161.
    A feature of agnostic views—views that officially express ignorance about the existence of something —is that they are widely perceived to be epistemically more cautious than views that are committed to the entities in question. This is often seen as giving agnostics a debating advantage: all things being equal, fence-sitters have smaller argumentative burdens. Otávio Bueno argues in this way for what he calls “agnostic nominalism,” the view that we don’t know whether ontologically-independent Platonic objects exist. I show that agnostic (...)
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  • Why Inference to the Best Explanation Doesn’T Secure Empirical Grounds for Mathematical Platonism.Kenneth Boyce - 2018 - Synthese:1-13.
    Proponents of the explanatory indispensability argument for mathematical platonism maintain that claims about mathematical entities play an essential explanatory role in some of our best scientific explanations. They infer that the existence of mathematical entities is supported by way of inference to the best explanation from empirical phenomena and therefore that there are the same sort of empirical grounds for believing in mathematical entities as there are for believing in concrete unobservables such as quarks. I object that this inference depends (...)
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  • Indispensability Arguments in the Philosophy of Mathematics.Mark Colyvan - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    One of the most intriguing features of mathematics is its applicability to empirical science. Every branch of science draws upon large and often diverse portions of mathematics, from the use of Hilbert spaces in quantum mechanics to the use of differential geometry in general relativity. It's not just the physical sciences that avail themselves of the services of mathematics either. Biology, for instance, makes extensive use of difference equations and statistics. The roles mathematics plays in these theories is also varied. (...)
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