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Philosophy of Mathematics: Structure and Ontology

Oxford University Press (1997)

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  1. Models and Fiction.Roman Frigg - 2010 - Synthese 172 (2):251-268.
    Most scientific models are not physical objects, and this raises important questions. What sort of entity are models, what is truth in a model, and how do we learn about models? In this paper I argue that models share important aspects in common with literary fiction, and that therefore theories of fiction can be brought to bear on these questions. In particular, I argue that the pretence theory as developed by Walton has the resources to answer these questions. I introduce (...)
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  • Structures, Fictions, and the Explanatory Epistemology of Mathematics in Science: Christopher Pincock: Mathematics and Scientific Representation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012, 330pp, $65.00 HB.Mark Balaguer, Elaine Landry, Sorin Bangu & Christopher Pincock - 2013 - Metascience 22 (2):247-273.
  • David Bostock: Philosophy of Mathematics: An Introduction: Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, 2009, 332 Pp, BPD 55.00, ISBN: 978-1405189927 , BPD 20.99, ISBN: 978-1-4051-8991-0. [REVIEW]Holger A. Leuz - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (3):425-428.
  • The Evolutionary Relevance of Abstraction and Representation.Andrew M. Winters - 2014 - Biosemiotics 7 (1):125-139.
    This paper investigates the roles that abstraction and representation have in activities associated with language. Activities such as associative learning and counting require both the abilities to abstract from and accurately represent the environment. These activities are successfully carried out among vocal learners aside from humans, thereby suggesting that nonhuman animals share something like our capacity for abstraction and representation. The identification of these capabilities in other species provides additional insights into the development of language.
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  • The Philosophy of Information as a Conceptual Framework.Luciano Floridi - 2010 - Knowledge, Technology & Policy 23 (1-2):1-31.
    The article contains the replies to the collection of contributions discussing my research on the philosophy of information.
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  • Abstraction in Computer Science.Timothy Colburn & Gary Shute - 2007 - Minds and Machines 17 (2):169-184.
    We characterize abstraction in computer science by first comparing the fundamental nature of computer science with that of its cousin mathematics. We consider their primary products, use of formalism, and abstraction objectives, and find that the two disciplines are sharply distinguished. Mathematics, being primarily concerned with developing inference structures, has information neglect as its abstraction objective. Computer science, being primarily concerned with developing interaction patterns, has information hiding as its abstraction objective. We show that abstraction through information hiding is a (...)
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  • Mathematical Representation: Playing a Role.Kate Hodesdon - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (3):769-782.
    The primary justification for mathematical structuralism is its capacity to explain two observations about mathematical objects, typically natural numbers. Non-eliminative structuralism attributes these features to the particular ontology of mathematics. I argue that attributing the features to an ontology of structural objects conflicts with claims often made by structuralists to the effect that their structuralist theses are versions of Quine’s ontological relativity or Putnam’s internal realism. I describe and argue for an alternative explanation for these features which instead explains the (...)
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  • Logical Truth.Paal Fjeldvig Antonsen - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Logic 16 (7):187.
    On the model-theoretic account, a sentence is logically true just in case it is true on all possible semantic interpretations. We dierentiate four ways one can interpret the modality 'possible' in this definition, and argue that one of these readings is not subject to the criticism levelled against the model-theoretic account by Etchemendy. By explicating the four readings we also draw some consequences for what linguistic evidence a selection of logical theories should be sensitive to.
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  • Quine, Putnam, and the ‘Quine–Putnam’ Indispensability Argument.David Liggins - 2008 - Erkenntnis 68 (1):113 - 127.
    Much recent discussion in the philosophy of mathematics has concerned the indispensability argument—an argument which aims to establish the existence of abstract mathematical objects through appealing to the role that mathematics plays in empirical science. The indispensability argument is standardly attributed to W. V. Quine and Hilary Putnam. In this paper, I show that this attribution is mistaken. Quine's argument for the existence of abstract mathematical objects differs from the argument which many philosophers of mathematics ascribe to him. Contrary to (...)
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  • Tools, Objects, and Chimeras: Connes on the Role of Hyperreals in Mathematics.Vladimir Kanovei, Mikhail G. Katz & Thomas Mormann - 2013 - Foundations of Science 18 (2):259-296.
    We examine some of Connes’ criticisms of Robinson’s infinitesimals starting in 1995. Connes sought to exploit the Solovay model S as ammunition against non-standard analysis, but the model tends to boomerang, undercutting Connes’ own earlier work in functional analysis. Connes described the hyperreals as both a “virtual theory” and a “chimera”, yet acknowledged that his argument relies on the transfer principle. We analyze Connes’ “dart-throwing” thought experiment, but reach an opposite conclusion. In S , all definable sets of reals are (...)
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  • Panpsychism and Causation: A New Argument} and a Solution to the Combination Problem.Hedda Hassel Mørch - 2014 - Dissertation, Oslo
    Panpsychism is the view that every concrete and unified thing has some form of phenomenal consciousness or experience. It is an age-old doctrine, which, to the surprise of many, has recently taken on new life. In philosophy of mind, it has been put forth as a simple and radical solution to the mind–body problem (Chalmers 1996, 2003;Strawson 2006; Nagel 1979, 2012). In metaphysics and philosophy of science, it has been put forth as a solution to the problem of accounting for (...)
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  • Structuralism and Its Ontology.Marc Gasser - 2015 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2:1-26.
    A prominent version of mathematical structuralism holds that mathematical objects are at bottom nothing but "positions in structures," purely relational entities without any sort of nature independent of the structure to which they belong. Such an ontology is often presented as a response to Benacerraf's "multiple reductions" problem, or motivated on hermeneutic grounds, as a faithful representation of the discourse and practice of mathematics. In this paper I argue that there are serious difficulties with this kind of view: its proponents (...)
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  • Mathematics as a Science of Non-Abstract Reality: Aristotelian Realist Philosophies of Mathematics.James Franklin - 2021 - Foundations of Science 26:1-18.
    There is a wide range of realist but non-Platonist philosophies of mathematics—naturalist or Aristotelian realisms. Held by Aristotle and Mill, they played little part in twentieth century philosophy of mathematics but have been revived recently. They assimilate mathematics to the rest of science. They hold that mathematics is the science of X, where X is some observable feature of the (physical or other non-abstract) world. Choices for X include quantity, structure, pattern, complexity, relations. The article lays out and compares these (...)
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  • What is Absolute Undecidability?†.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):467-481.
    It is often alleged that, unlike typical axioms of mathematics, the Continuum Hypothesis (CH) is indeterminate. This position is normally defended on the ground that the CH is undecidable in a way that typical axioms are not. Call this kind of undecidability “absolute undecidability”. In this paper, I seek to understand what absolute undecidability could be such that one might hope to establish that (a) CH is absolutely undecidable, (b) typical axioms are not absolutely undecidable, and (c) if a mathematical (...)
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  • 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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  • Why Can't There Be Numbers?David Builes - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    Platonists affirm the existence of abstract mathematical objects, and Nominalists deny the existence of abstract mathematical objects. While there are standard arguments in favor of Nominalism, these arguments fail to account for the necessity of Nominalism. Furthermore, these arguments do nothing to explain why Nominalism is true. They only point to certain theoretical vices that might befall the Platonist. The goal of this paper is to formulate and defend a simple, valid argument for the necessity of Nominalism that seeks to (...)
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  • Tarski's Thesis.Gila Sher - 2008 - In Douglas Patterson (ed.), New Essays on Tarski and Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 300--339.
  • The ineffability of God.Omar Fakhri - 2021 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 89 (1):25-41.
    I defend an account of God’s ineffability that depends on the distinction between fundamental and non-fundamental truths. I argue that although there are fundamentally true propositions about God, no creature can have them as the object of a propositional attitude, and no sentence can perfectly carve out their structures. Why? Because these propositions have non-enumerable structures. In principle, no creature can fully grasp God’s intrinsic nature, nor can they develop a language that fully describes it. On this account, the ineffability (...)
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  • XV—On Consistency and Existence in Mathematics.Walter Dean - 2021 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 120 (3):349-393.
    This paper engages the question ‘Does the consistency of a set of axioms entail the existence of a model in which they are satisfied?’ within the frame of the Frege-Hilbert controversy. The question is related historically to the formulation, proof and reception of Gödel’s Completeness Theorem. Tools from mathematical logic are then used to argue that there are precise senses in which Frege was correct to maintain that demonstrating consistency is as difficult as it can be, but also in which (...)
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  • Against Quidditism.Robert Black - 2000 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78 (1):87 – 104.
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  • From Numerical Concepts to Concepts of Number.Lance J. Rips, Amber Bloomfield & Jennifer Asmuth - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (6):623-642.
    Many experiments with infants suggest that they possess quantitative abilities, and many experimentalists believe that these abilities set the stage for later mathematics: natural numbers and arithmetic. However, the connection between these early and later skills is far from obvious. We evaluate two possible routes to mathematics and argue that neither is sufficient: (1) We first sketch what we think is the most likely model for infant abilities in this domain, and we examine proposals for extrapolating the natural number concept (...)
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  • Learning Natural Numbers is Conceptually Different Than Learning Counting Numbers.Dwight Read - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (6):667-668.
    How children learn number concepts reflects the conceptual and logical distinction between counting numbers, based on a same-size concept for collections of objects, and natural numbers, constructed as an algebra defined by the Peano axioms for arithmetic. Cross-cultural research illustrates the cultural specificity of counting number systems, and hence the cultural context must be taken into account.
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  • Structuralist Neologicism†.Francesca Boccuni & Jack Woods - 2020 - Philosophia Mathematica 28 (3):296-316.
    Neofregeanism and structuralism are among the most promising recent approaches to the philosophy of mathematics. Yet both have serious costs. We develop a view, structuralist neologicism, which retains the central advantages of each while avoiding their more serious costs. The key to our approach is using arbitrary reference to explicate how mathematical terms, introduced by abstraction principles, refer. Focusing on numerical terms, this allows us to treat abstraction principles as implicit definitions determining all properties of the numbers, achieving a key (...)
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  • Expressing ‘the Structure of’ in Homotopy Type Theory.David Corfield - 2017 - Synthese 197 (2):681-700.
    As a new foundational language for mathematics with its very different idea as to the status of logic, we should expect homotopy type theory to shed new light on some of the problems of philosophy which have been treated by logic. In this article, definite description, and in particular its employment within mathematics, is formulated within the type theory. Homotopy type theory has been proposed as an inherently structuralist foundational language for mathematics. Using the new formulation of definite descriptions, opportunities (...)
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  • General Solution to All Philosophical Problems With Some Exceptions.Wayde Beasley - forthcoming - north of parallel 40: Numerous uncommitted.
    Philosophy is unsolved. My forthcoming book sets forth the final resolution, with some exceptions, to this 2,500 year crisis. I am currently close to finishing page 983.
     
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  • Truth as Composite Correspondence.Gila Sher - 2015 - In Unifying the Philosophy of Truth. Springer Verlag. pp. 191-210.
    The problem that motivates me arises from a constellation of factors pulling in different, sometimes opposing directions. Simplifying, they are: (1) The complexity of the world; (2) Humans’ ambitious project of theoretical knowledge of the world; (3) The severe limitations of humans’ cognitive capacities; (4) The considerable intricacy of humans’ cognitive capacities . Given these circumstances, the question arises whether a serious notion of truth is applicable to human theories of the world. In particular, I am interested in the questions: (...)
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  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Numbers.Richard Pettigrew - 2018 - Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 169 (12):1437-1456.
    In this paper, I describe and motivate a new species of mathematical structuralism, which I call Instrumental Nominalism about Set-Theoretic Structuralism. As the name suggests, this approach takes standard Set-Theoretic Structuralism of the sort championed by Bourbaki and removes its ontological commitments by taking an instrumental nominalist approach to that ontology of the sort described by Joseph Melia and Gideon Rosen. I argue that this avoids all of the problems that plague other versions of structuralism.
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  • Platonism and Aristotelianism in Mathematics.Richard Pettigrew - 2008 - Philosophia Mathematica 16 (3):310-332.
    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 (...)
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  • Mohan Ganesalingam. The Language of Mathematics: A Linguistic and Philosophical Investigation. FoLLI Publications on Logic, Language and Information. [REVIEW]Andrew Aberdein - 2017 - Philosophia Mathematica 25 (1):143–147.
  • Epistemological Objections to Platonism.David Liggins - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (1):67-77.
    Many philosophers posit abstract entities – where something is abstract if it is acausal and lacks spatio-temporal location. Theories, types, characteristics, meanings, values and responsibilities are all good candidates for abstractness. Such things raise an epistemological puzzle: if they are abstract, then how can we have any epistemic access to how they are? If they are invisible, intangible and never make anything happen, then how can we ever discover anything about them? In this article, I critically examine epistemological objections to (...)
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  • Do Objects Depend on Structures?Johanna Wolff - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (3):607-625.
    Ontic structural realists hold that structure is all there is, or at least all there is fundamentally. This thesis has proved to be puzzling: What exactly does it say about the relationship between objects and structures? In this article, I look at different ways of articulating ontic structural realism in terms of the relation between structures and objects. I show that objects cannot be reduced to structure, and argue that ontological dependence cannot be used to establish strong forms of structural (...)
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  • Structural Realism and Generative Grammar.Ryan M. Nefdt - unknown
    Linguistics as a science has rapidly changed during the course of a relatively short period. The mathematical foundations of the science, however, present a different story below the surface. In this paper, I argue that due to the former, the seismic shifts in theory over the past 80 years opens linguistics up to the problem of pessimistic meta-induction or radical theory change. I further argue that, due to the latter, one current solution to this problem in the philosophy of science, (...)
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  • Mathematical Structuralism and the Identity of Indiscernibles.Jac Ladyman - 2005 - Analysis 65 (3):218-221.
  • Criteria of Identity and Structuralist Ontology.Hannes Leitgeb & James Ladyman - 2008 - Philosophia Mathematica 16 (3):388-396.
    In discussions about whether the Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles is compatible with structuralist ontologies of mathematics, it is usually assumed that individual objects are subject to criteria of identity which somehow account for the identity of the individuals. Much of this debate concerns structures that admit of non-trivial automorphisms. We consider cases from graph theory that violate even weak formulations of PII. We argue that (i) the identity or difference of places in a structure is not to be (...)
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  • Mathematical Structuralism and the Identity of Indiscernibles.James Ladyman - 2005 - Analysis 65 (3):218–221.
  • Social Construction, Mathematics, and the Collective Imposition of Function Onto Reality.Julian C. Cole - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (6):1101-1124.
    Stereotypes of social construction suggest that the existence of social constructs is accidental and that such constructs have arbitrary and subjective features. In this paper, I explore a conception of social construction according to which it consists in the collective imposition of function onto reality and show that, according to this conception, these stereotypes are incorrect. In particular, I argue that the collective imposition of function onto reality is typically non-accidental and that the products of such imposition frequently have non-arbitrary (...)
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  • La constitución del programa de Hilbert.Max Fernández de Castro & Yolanda Torres Falcón - 2020 - Metatheoria – Revista de Filosofía E Historia de la Ciencia 10 (2):31--50.
    In the pages that follow, it is our intention to present a panoramic and schematic view of the evolution of the formalist program, which derives from recent studies of lecture notes that were unknown until very recently. Firstly, we analyze certain elements of the program. Secondly, we observe how, once the program was established in 1920, in the period up to 1931, different types of finitism with a common basis were tried out by Hilbert and Bernays, in an effort to (...)
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  • Scientific Phenomena and Patterns in Data.Pascal Ströing - 2018 - Dissertation, LMU München
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  • Deferentialism.Chris Daly & David Liggins - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (3):321-337.
    There is a recent and growing trend in philosophy that involves deferring to the claims of certain disciplines outside of philosophy, such as mathematics, the natural sciences, and linguistics. According to this trend— deferentialism , as we will call it—certain disciplines outside of philosophy make claims that have a decisive bearing on philosophical disputes, where those claims are more epistemically justified than any philosophical considerations just because those claims are made by those disciplines. Deferentialists believe that certain longstanding philosophical problems (...)
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  • The Epsilon-Reconstruction of Theories and Scientific Structuralism.Georg Schiemer & Norbert Gratzl - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (2):407-432.
    Rudolf Carnap’s mature work on the logical reconstruction of scientific theories consists of two components. The first is the elimination of the theoretical vocabulary of a theory in terms of its Ramsification. The second is the reintroduction of the theoretical terms through explicit definitions in a language containing an epsilon operator. This paper investigates Carnap’s epsilon-reconstruction of theories in the context of pure mathematics. The main objective here is twofold: first, to specify the epsilon logic underlying his suggested definition of (...)
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  • Empiricism, Probability, and Knowledge of Arithmetic.Sean Walsh - 2014 - Journal of Applied Logic 12 (3):319–348.
    The topic of this paper is our knowledge of the natural numbers, and in particular, our knowledge of the basic axioms for the natural numbers, namely the Peano axioms. The thesis defended in this paper is that knowledge of these axioms may be gained by recourse to judgements of probability. While considerations of probability have come to the forefront in recent epistemology, it seems safe to say that the thesis defended here is heterodox from the vantage point of traditional philosophy (...)
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  • The Intelligibility of the Universe.Michael Redhead - 2001 - In Anthony O'Hear (ed.), Philosophy at the New Millennium. pp. 73-90.
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  • What is a (Social) Structural Explanation?Sally Haslanger - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):113-130.
    A philosophically useful account of social structure must accommodate the fact that social structures play an important role in structural explanation. But what is a structural explanation? How do structural explanations function in the social sciences? This paper offers a way of thinking about structural explanation and sketches an account of social structure that connects social structures with structural explanation.
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  • Royce's Model of the Absolute.Eric Steinhart - 2012 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 48 (3):356-384.
    At the end of the 19th century, Josiah Royce participated in what has come to be called the great debate (Royce, 1897; Armour, 2005).1 The great debate concerned issues in metaphysical theology, and, since metaphysics was primarily idealistic, it dealt considerably with the relations between the divine Self and lesser selves. After the great debate, Royce developed his idealism in his Gifford Lectures (1898-1900). These were published as The World and the Individual. At the end of the first volume, Royce (...)
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  • Impredicative Identity Criteria.Leon Horsten - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (2):411-439.
    In this paper, a general perspective on criteria of identity of kinds of objects is developed. The question of the admissibility of impredicative or circular identitycriteria is investigated in the light of the view that is articulated. It is argued that in and of itself impredicativity docs not constitute sufficient grounds for rejecting aputative identity criterion. The view that is presented is applied to Davidson's criterion of identity for events and to the structuralist criterion of identity of placesin a structure.
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  • Pasch's Empiricism as Methodological Structuralism.Dirk Schlimm - 2020 - In Erich Reck & Georg Schiemer (eds.), The Pre-History of Mathematical Structuralism. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 80-105.
  • Hilbertian Structuralism and the Frege-Hilbert Controversy†.Fiona T. Doherty - 2019 - Philosophia Mathematica 27 (3):335-361.
    ABSTRACT This paper reveals David Hilbert’s position in the philosophy of mathematics, circa 1900, to be a form of non-eliminative structuralism, predating his formalism. I argue that Hilbert withstands the pressing objections put to him by Frege in the course of the Frege-Hilbert controversy in virtue of this early structuralist approach. To demonstrate that this historical position deserves contemporary attention I show that Hilbertian structuralism avoids a recent wave of objections against non-eliminative structuralists to the effect that they cannot distinguish (...)
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  • Indispensability and Explanation: An Overview and Introduction.Daniele Molinini, Fabrice Pataut & Andrea Sereni - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2):317-332.
  • Elaine Landry,* Ed. Categories for the Working Philosopher. [REVIEW]Neil Barton - 2020 - Philosophia Mathematica 28 (1):95-108.
    LandryElaine, * ed. Categories for the Working Philosopher. Oxford University Press, 2017. ISBN 978-0-19-874899-1 ; 978-0-19-106582-8. Pp. xiv + 471.
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  • Structural-Abstraction Principles.Graham Leach-Krouse - 2015 - Philosophia Mathematica:nkv033.
    In this paper, I present a class of ‘structural’ abstraction principles, and describe how they are suggested by some features of Cantor's and Dedekind's approach to abstraction. Structural abstraction is a promising source of mathematically tractable new axioms for the neo-logicist. I illustrate this by showing, first, how a theorem of Shelah gives a sufficient condition for consistency in the structural setting, solving what neo-logicists call the ‘bad company’ problem for structural abstraction. Second, I show how, in the structural setting, (...)
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