Numerical cognition and mathematical realism

Philosophers' Imprint 16 (16) (2016)
Abstract
Humans and other animals have an evolved ability to detect discrete magnitudes in their environment. Does this observation support evolutionary debunking arguments against mathematical realism, as has been recently argued by Clarke-Doane, or does it bolster mathematical realism, as authors such as Joyce and Sinnott-Armstrong have assumed? To find out, we need to pay closer attention to the features of evolved numerical cognition. I provide a detailed examination of the functional properties of evolved numerical cognition, and propose that they prima facie favor a realist account of numbers.
Keywords Numerical cognition  Mathematical realism  Mathematical platonism  Evolutionary debunking arguments
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