How Abstract Objects Strike Us

Dialectica 48 (1):3-27 (1994)
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SummaryBenacerraf challenges us to account for the reliability of our mathematical beliefs given that there appear to be no natural connections between mathematical believers and mathematical ontology. In this paper I try to do two things. I argue that the interactionist view underlying this challenge renders inexplicable not only the reliability of our mathematical beliefs, construed either platonistically or naturalistically , but also the reliability of most of our beliefs in physics. I attempt to counter Benacerraf's challenge by sketching an alternative conception of reliability explanations which renders explicable the reliability of our beliefs in physics and in mathematics but in which mathematical and formal considerations themselves play a central role. My main thesis is that abstract objects do not strike us, but that this is irrelevant to the reliability of our mathematical and physical beliefs



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Michael Liston
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

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Taking mathematical fictions seriously.Michael Liston - 1993 - Synthese 95 (3):433 - 458.

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