Hilary Putnam's Consistency Objection against Wittgenstein's Conventionalism in Mathematics

Philosophia Mathematica 21 (3):279-296 (2013)
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Hilary Putnam first published the consistency objection against Ludwig Wittgenstein’s account of mathematics in 1979. In 1983, Putnam and Benacerraf raised this objection against all conventionalist accounts of mathematics. I discuss the 1979 version and the scenario argument, which supports the key premise of the objection. The wide applicability of this objection is not apparent; I thus raise it against an imaginary axiomatic theory T similar to Peano arithmetic in all relevant aspects. I argue that a conventionalist can explain the consistency of T and suggest that an analogous explanation can be provided for the consistency of Peano arithmetic



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Pieranna Garavaso
University of Minnesota, Morris

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References found in this work

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
Wittgenstein on rules and private language.Saul A. Kripke - 1982 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 173 (4):496-499.
The ways of paradox, and other essays.Willard Van Orman Quine (ed.) - 1976 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1956 - Oxford: Macmillan. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe, Rush Rhees & G. H. von Wright.

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