Lakatos’ Quasi-empiricism in the Philosophy of Mathematics

Polish Journal of Philosophy 9 (2):71-80 (2015)
Michael Shaffer
St. Cloud State University
Imre Lakatos' views on the philosophy of mathematics are important and they have often been underappreciated. The most obvious lacuna in this respect is the lack of detailed discussion and analysis of his 1976a paper and its implications for the methodology of mathematics, particularly its implications with respect to argumentation and the matter of how truths are established in mathematics. The most important themes that run through his work on the philosophy of mathematics and which culminate in the 1976a paper are (1) the (quasi-)empirical character of mathematics and (2) the rejection of axiomatic deductivism as the basis of mathematical knowledge. In this paper Lakatos' later views on the quasi-empirical nature of mathematical theories and methodology are examined and specific attention is paid to what this view implies about the nature of mathematical argumentation and its relation to the empirical sciences.
Keywords Lakatos  Mathematics  Empiricism  Imagination
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ISBN(s) 1897-1652
DOI 10.5840/pjphil20159211
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