A neo-formalist approach to mathematical truth


Authors
Alan Weir
University of Glasgow
Abstract
I outline a variant on the formalist approach to mathematics which rejects textbook formalism's highly counterintuitive denial that mathematical theorems express truths while still avoiding ontological commitment to a realm of abstract objects. The key idea is to distinguish the sense of a sentence from its explanatory truth conditions. I then look at various problems with the neo-formalist approach, in particular at the status of the notion of proof in a formal calculus and at problems which Gödelian results seem to pose for the tight link assumed between truth and proof.
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