Lautman on problems as the conditions of existence of solutions

Angelaki 23 (2):79-93 (2018)

Authors
Simon B. Duffy
Yale-NUS College
Abstract
Albert Lautman (b. 1908–1944) was a philosopher of mathematics whose views on mathematical reality and on the philosophy of mathematics parted with the dominant tendencies of mathematical epistemology of the time. Lautman considered the role of philosophy, and of the philosopher, in relation to mathematics to be quite specific. He writes that: ‘in the development of mathematics, a reality is asserted that mathematical philosophy has as a function to recognize and describe’ (Lautman 2011, 87). He goes on to characterize this reality as an ‘ideal reality’ that ‘governs’ the development of mathematics. The relation between mathematical problems as they arise in the historical development of mathematics and the solutions that are provided to these problems by mathematicians, in the form of new mathematical theories, definitions or axioms, are governed by a what Lautman characterises as a dialectics of mathematics. The aim of this paper is to give an account of this Lautmanian dialectic and of how it can be understood to govern the development of solutions to mathematical problems.
Keywords Lautman  mathematics  problems  dialectic
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DOI 10.1080/0969725X.2018.1451469
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Cratylus. Plato - 1997 - In J. M. Cooper (ed.), Plato Complete Works. Indianapolis: Hackett. pp. 101--156.

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