Kitcher, ideal agents, and fictionalism

Philosophia Mathematica 12 (1):3-17 (2004)
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Abstract

Kitcher urges us to think of mathematics as an idealized science of human operations, rather than a theory describing abstract mathematical objects. I argue that Kitcher's invocation of idealization cannot save mathematical truth and avoid platonism. Nevertheless, what is left of Kitcher's view is worth holding onto. I propose that Kitcher's account should be fictionalized, making use of Walton's and Currie's make-believe theory of fiction, and argue that the resulting ideal-agent fictionalism has advantages over mathematical-object fictionalism.

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Sarah Hoffman
University of Saskatchewan

Citations of this work

Platonism in Metaphysics.Markn D. Balaguer - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1 (1):1.
Fictionalism, theft, and the story of mathematics.Mark Balaguer - 2009 - Philosophia Mathematica 17 (2):131-162.
Fictionalism in the philosophy of mathematics.Mark Balaguer - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Revolutionary Fictionalism: A Call to Arms.Mary Leng - 2005 - Philosophia Mathematica 13 (3):277-293.
Platonism in metaphysics.Mark Balaguer - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Nature's capacities and their measurement.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
The nature of mathematical knowledge.Philip Kitcher - 1983 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mathematics as a science of patterns.Michael David Resnik - 1997 - New York ;: Oxford University Press.

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