Erkenntnis 68 (1):113 - 127 (2008)
AbstractMuch recent discussion in the philosophy of mathematics has concerned the indispensability argument—an argument which aims to establish the existence of abstract mathematical objects through appealing to the role that mathematics plays in empirical science. The indispensability argument is standardly attributed to W. V. Quine and Hilary Putnam. In this paper, I show that this attribution is mistaken. Quine's argument for the existence of abstract mathematical objects differs from the argument which many philosophers of mathematics ascribe to him. Contrary to appearances, Putnam did not argue for the existence of abstract mathematical objects at all. I close by suggesting that attention to Quine and Putnam's writings reveals some neglected arguments for platonism which may be superior to the indispensability argument.
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Citations of this work
The Holistic Presumptions of the Indispensability Argument.Russell Marcus - 2014 - Synthese 191 (15):3575-3594.
Why Inference to the Best Explanation Doesn’T Secure Empirical Grounds for Mathematical Platonism.Kenneth Boyce - 2018 - Synthese 198 (1):1-13.
References found in this work
Essays on Actions and Events: Philosophical Essays Volume 1.Donald Davidson - 1970 - Clarendon Press.
Four Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time.Theodore Sider - 2001 - Oxford University Press.