Erkenntnis:1-31 (forthcoming)

Authors
Eduardo Giovannini
University of Vienna
Abstract
The paper surveys different notions of implicit definition. In particular, we offer an examination of a kind of definition commonly used in formal axiomatics, which in general terms is understood as providing a definition of the primitive terminology of an axiomatic theory. We argue that such “structural definitions” can be semantically understood in two different ways, namely as specifications of the meaning of the primitive terms of a theory and as definitions of higher-order mathematical concepts or structures. We analyze these two conceptions of structural definition both in the history of modern axiomatics and in contemporary philosophical debates. Based on that, we give a systematic assessment of the underlying semantics of these two ways of understanding the definiens of such definitions, by considering alternative model-theoretic and inferential accounts of meaning.
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-019-00176-5
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