Charles Parsons examines the notion of object, with the aim to navigate between nominalism, denying that distinctively mathematical objects exist, and forms of Platonism that postulate a transcendent realm of such objects. He introduces the central mathematical notion of structure and defends a version of the structuralist view of mathematical objects, according to which their existence is relative to a structure and they have no more of a 'nature' than that confers on them. Parsons also analyzes the concept of intuition (...) and presents a conception of it distantly inspired by that of Kant, which describes a basic kind of access to abstract objects and an element of a first conception of the infinite. (shrink)
This work is the long awaited sequel to the author’s classic Frege: Philosophy of Language. But it is not exactly what the author originally planned. He tells us that when he resumed work on the book in the summer of 1989, after a long interruption, he decided to start afresh. The resulting work followed a different plan from the original drafts. The reader does not know what was lost by their abandonment, but clearly much was gained: The present work may (...) be the most compactly organized of Dummett’s philosophical books, and its value as commentary on Frege is enhanced by its being organized as a study of Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik and selected parts of Grundgesetze. Moreover, since Dummett has been thinking and writing about Frege for forty years, we have a single, mature chronological stage of his thought. (shrink)
I consider different versions of a structuralist view of mathematical objects, according to which characteristic mathematical objects have no more of a 'nature' than is given by the basic relations of a structure in which they reside. My own version of such a view is non-eliminative in the sense that it does not lead to a programme for eliminating reference to mathematical objects. I reply to criticisms of non-eliminative structuralism recently advanced by Keränen and Hellman. In replying to the former, (...) I rely on a distinction between 'basic' and 'constructed' structures. A conclusion is that ideas from the metaphysical tradition can be misleading when applied to the objects of modern mathematics. (shrink)
Kurt Gödel made many affirmations of robust realism but also showed serious engagement with the idealist tradition, especially with Leibniz, Kant, and Husserl. The root of this apparently paradoxical attitude is his conviction of the power of reason. The paper explores the question of how Gödel read Kant. His argument that relativity theory supports the idea of the ideality of time is discussed critically, in particular attempting to explain the assertion that science can go beyond the appearances and ‘approach the (...) things’. Leibniz and post-Kantian idealism are discussed more briefly, the latter as documented in the correspondence with Gotthard Günther. (shrink)
The language of mathematics speaks of objects. This is a rather trivial statement; it is not certain that we can conceive any developed language that does not. What is of interest is that, taken at face value, mathematical language speaks of objects distinctively mathematical in character: numbers, functions, sets, geometric figures, and the like. To begin with they are distinctive in being abstract.
In this paper some of the history of the development of arithmetic in set theory is traced, particularly with reference to the problem of avoiding the assumption of an infinite set. Although the standard method of singling out a sequence of sets to be the natural numbers goes back to Zermelo, its development was more tortuous than is generally believed. We consider the development in the light of three desiderata for a solution and argue that they can probably not all (...) be satisfied simultaneously. (shrink)
The transcendental aesthetic -- Arithmetic and the categories -- Remarks on pure natural science -- Two studies in the reception of Kant's philosophy of arithmetic: postscript to part I -- Some remarks on Frege's conception of extension -- Postscript to essay 5 -- Frege's correspondence: postscript to essay 6 -- Brentano on judgment and truth -- Husserl and the linguistic turn.
The paper undertakes to characterize Hao Wang's style, convictions, and method as a philosopher, centering on his most important philosophical work From Mathematics to Philosophy, 1974. The descriptive character of Wang's characteristic method is emphasized. Some specific achievements are discussed: his analyses of the concept of set, his discussion, in connection with setting forth Gödel's views, of minds and machines, and his concept of ‘analytic empiricism’ used to criticize Carnap and Quine. Wang's work as interpreter of Gödel's thought and the (...) importance of his writings as a source are also discussed. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Part I. General: 1. The Gödel editorial project: a synopsis Solomon Feferman; 2. Future tasks for Gödel scholars John W. Dawson, Jr., and Cheryl A. Dawson; Part II. Proof Theory: 3. Kurt Gödel and the metamathematical tradition Jeremy Avigad; 4. Only two letters: the correspondence between Herbrand and Gödel Wilfried Sieg; 5. Gödel's reformulation of Gentzen's first consistency proof for arithmetic: the no-counter-example interpretation W. W. Tait; 6. Gödel on intuition and on Hilbert's finitism W. W. (...) Tait; 7. The Gödel hierarchy and reverse mathematics Stephen G. Simpson ; 8. On the outside looking in: a caution about conservativeness John P. Burgess; Part III. Set Theory: 9. Gödel and set theory Akihiro Kanamori; 10. Generalizations of Gödel's universe of constructible sets Sy-David Friedman; 11. On the question of absolute undecidability Peter Koellner; Part IV. Philosophy of Mathematics: 12. What did Gödel believe and when did he believe it? Martin Davis; 13. On Gödel's way in: the influence of Rudolf Carnap Warren Goldfarb; 14. Gödel and Carnap Steve Awodey and A. W. Carus; 15. On the philosophical development of Kurt Gödel Mark van Atten and Juliette Kennedy; 16. Platonism and mathematical intuition in Kurt Gödel's thought Charles Parsons; 17. Gödel's conceptual realism Donald A. Martin. (shrink)