Numerical cognition and mathematical realism

Philosophers' Imprint 16 (2016)
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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.

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Helen De Cruz
Saint Louis University

Citations of this work

Debunking arguments.Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (12):e12638.
The enduring enigma of reason.Catarina Dutilh Novaes - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (5):513-524.

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References found in this work

A Darwinian dilemma for realist theories of value.Sharon Street - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (1):109-166.
Mathematical truth.Paul Benacerraf - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (19):661-679.
Moral skepticisms.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2006 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Debunking Evolutionary Debunking.Katia Vavova - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 9:76-101.

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