Deflationary Nominalism and Puzzle Avoidance

Philosophia Mathematica 27 (1):88-104 (2019)
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Abstract

In a series of works, Jody Azzouni has defended deflationary nominalism, the view that certain sentences quantifying over mathematical objects are literally true, although such objects do not exist. One alleged attraction of this view is that it avoids various philosophical puzzles about mathematical objects. I argue that this thought is misguided. I first develop an ontologically neutral counterpart of Field’s reliability challenge and argue that deflationary nominalism offers no distinctive answer to it. I then show how this reasoning generalizes to other philosophically problematic entities. The moral is that puzzle avoidance fails to motivate deflationary nominalism.

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Author's Profile

David Mark Kovacs
Tel Aviv University

Citations of this work

Debunking Arguments.Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (12).

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
Guide to Ground.Kit Fine - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37--80.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Realism, Mathematics, and Modality.Hartry Field - 1988 - Philosophical Topics 16 (1):57-107.

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