Formal Methods


(This is for the Cambridge Handbook of Analytic Philosophy, edited by Marcus Rossberg) In this handbook entry, I survey the different ways in which formal mathematical methods have been applied to philosophical questions throughout the history of analytic philosophy. I consider: formalization in symbolic logic, with examples such as Aquinas’ third way and Anselm’s ontological argument; Bayesian confirmation theory, with examples such as the fine-tuning argument for God and the paradox of the ravens; foundations of mathematics, with examples such as Hilbert’s programme and Gödel’s incompleteness theorems; social choice theory, with examples such as Condorcet’s paradox and Arrow’s theorem; ‘how possibly’ results, with examples such as Condorcet’s jury theorem and recent work on intersectionality theory; and the application of advanced mathematics in philosophy, with examples such as accuracy-first epistemology.



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Richard Pettigrew
University of Bristol

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References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
Accuracy and the Laws of Credence.Richard Pettigrew - 2016 - New York, NY.: Oxford University Press UK.
Bayesian Philosophy of Science.Jan Sprenger & Stephan Hartmann - 2019 - Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

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