Naturalized platonism versus platonized naturalism

Journal of Philosophy 92 (10):525-555 (1995)
Bernard Linsky
University of Alberta
In this paper, we develop an alternative strategy, Platonized Naturalism, for reconciling naturalism and Platonism and to account for our knowledge of mathematical objects and properties. A systematic (Principled) Platonism based on a comprehension principle that asserts the existence of a plenitude of abstract objects is not just consistent with, but required (on transcendental grounds) for naturalism. Such a comprehension principle is synthetic, and it is known a priori. Its synthetic a priori character is grounded in the fact that it is an essential part of the logic in which any scientific theory will be formulated and so underlies (our understanding of) the meaningfulness of any such theory (this is why it is required for naturalism). Moreover, the comprehension principle satisfies naturalist standards of reference, knowledge, and ontological parsimony! As part of our argument, we identify mathematical objects as abstract individuals in the domain governed by the comprehension principle, and we show that our knowledge of mathematical truths is linked to our knowledge of that principle.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0022-362X
DOI 10.2307/2940786
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