How to Nominalize Formalism

Philosophia Mathematica 13 (2):135-159 (2005)
Formalism shares with nominalism a distaste for abstracta. But an honest exposition of the former position risks introducing abstracta as the stuff of syntax. This article describes the dangers, and offers a new escape route from platonism for the formalist. It is explained how the needed role of derivations in mathematical practice can be explained, not by a commitment to the derivations themselves, but by the commitment of the mathematician to a practice which is in accord with a theory of derivations
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DOI 10.1093/philmat/nki009
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