The Monist 97 (1):30-46 (2014)

Achille C. Varzi
Columbia University
In a calculation involving imaginary numbers, we begin with real numbers that represent concrete measures and we end up with numbers that are equally real, but in the course of the operation we find ourselves walking “as if on a bridge that stands on no piles”. How is that possible? How does that work? And what is involved in the as-if stance that this metaphor introduces so beautifully? These are questions that bother Törless deeply. And that Törless is bothered by such questions is a central question for any reader of Törless. Here I offer my interpretation, along with a reconstruction of the philosophical intuition that lies behind it all.
Keywords Robert Musil  Fictionalism
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DOI 10.5840/monist20149713
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References found in this work BETA

Mathematics and Reality.Mary Leng (ed.) - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
Mimesis as Make-Believe.Kendall L. Walton - 1990 - Synthese 109 (3):413-434.
Mathematics and Reality.Mary Leng - 2011 - Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 17 (2):267-268.
Science Without Numbers.Hartry Field - 1980 - Synthese 51 (2):283-291.

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