In this ambitious study, DavidCorfield attacks the widely held view that it is the nature of mathematical knowledge which has shaped the way in which mathematics is treated philosophically and claims that contingent factors have brought us to the present thematically limited discipline. Illustrating his discussion with a wealth of examples, he sets out a variety of approaches to new thinking about the philosophy of mathematics, ranging from an exploration of whether computers producing mathematical proofs or conjectures (...) are doing real mathematics, to the use of analogy, the prospects for a Bayesian confirmation theory, the notion of a mathematical research programme and the ways in which new concepts are justified. His inspiring book challenges both philosophers and mathematicians to develop the broadest and richest philosophical resources for work in their disciplines and points clearly to the ways in which this can be done. (shrink)
In this ambitious study, DavidCorfield attacks the widely held view that it is the nature of mathematical knowledge which has shaped the way in which mathematics is treated philosophically, and claims that contingent factors have brought us to the present thematically limited discipline. Illustrating his discussion with a wealth of examples, he sets out a variety of new ways to think philosophically about mathematics, ranging from an exploration of whether computers producing mathematical proofs or conjectures are doing (...) real mathematics, to the use of analogy, the prospects for a Bayesian confirmation theory, the notion of a mathematical research programme, and the ways in which new concepts are justified. His highly original book challenges both philosophers and mathematicians to develop the broadest and richest philosophical resources for work in their disciplines, and points clearly to the ways in which this can be done. (shrink)
In a paper published in 1939, Ernest Nagel described the role that projective duality had played in the reformulation of mathematical understanding through the turn of the nineteenth century, claiming that the discovery of the principle of duality had freed mathematicians from the belief that their task was to describe intuitive elements. While instances of duality in mathematics have increased enormously through the twentieth century, philosophers since Nagel have paid little attention to the phenomenon. In this paper I will argue (...) that a reassessment is overdue. Something beyond doubt is that category theory has an enormous amount to say on the subject, for example, in terms of arrow reversal, dualising objects and adjunctions. These developments have coincided with changes in our understanding of identity and structure within mathematics. While it transpires that physicists have employed the term ‘duality’ in ways which do not always coincide with those of mathematicians, analysis of the latter should still prove very useful to philosophers of physics. Consequently, category theory presents itself as an extremely important language for the philosophy of physics. (shrink)
As a new foundational language for mathematics with its very different idea as to the status of logic, we should expect homotopy type theory to shed new light on some of the problems of philosophy which have been treated by logic. In this article, definite description, and in particular its employment within mathematics, is formulated within the type theory. Homotopy type theory has been proposed as an inherently structuralist foundational language for mathematics. Using the new formulation of definite descriptions, opportunities (...) to express ‘the structure of’ within homotopy type theory are explored, and it is shown there is little or no need for this expression. (shrink)
This paper treats the situation where a single mathematical construction satisfies a multitude of interesting mathematical properties. The examples treated are all infinitely large entities. The clustering of properties is termed ‘niceness’ by the mathematician Michiel Hazewinkel, a concept we compare to the ‘robustness’ described by the philosopher of science William Wimsatt. In the final part of the paper, we bring our findings to bear on the question of realism which concerns not whether mathematical entities exist as abstract objects, but (...) rather whether the choice of our concepts is forced upon us. (shrink)
In this paper we give an account of the rise and development of coalgebraic thinking in mathematics and computer science as an illustration of the way mathematical frameworks may be transformed. Originating in a foundational dispute as to the correct way to characterise sets, logicians and computer scientists came to see maximizing and minimizing extremal axiomatisations as a dual pair, each necessary to represent entities of interest. In particular, many important infinitely large entities can be characterised in terms of such (...) axiomatisations. We consider reasons for the delay in arriving at the coalgebraic framework, despite many unrecognised manifestations occurring years earlier, and discuss an apparent asymmetry in the relationship between algebra and coalgebra. (shrink)
Cet article examine la thèse de Lautman selon laquelle la réalité des mathématiques doit être approchée par la « réalisation des idées dialectiques ». Pour ce faire, nous reprenons deux exemples que Lautman a lui-même traités. La question est de savoir si on peut ou non mieux décrire les idées dialectiques comme mathématiques, particulièrement maintenant que les moyens mathématiques d’approcher ces idées au niveau de généralisation appropriée existent. Ainsi, la théorie des catégories, inconnue de Lautman, peut donner une description très (...) approfondie de l’idée de dualité. Je soumets de plus que les instances, données par Lautman, de la réalisation des idées dialectiques en dehors des mathématiques et de la physique mathématique sont assez maigres, ce qui suggère fortement que les idées qu’il a décrites si admirablement sont immanentes à la pratique des mathématiques, au lieu d’appartenir à « une réalité idéale, supérieure aux mathématiques ».This paper examines Lautman’s claim that the reality of mathematics is to be addressed through the “realisation of dialectical ideas”. This is done in the context of two examples treated by Lautman himself. The question is raised as to whether we might better describe dialectical ideas as mathematical ones, especially now that we have mathematical means to approach these ideas at the right level of generality. For example, category theory, unknown to Lautman, can describe the idea of duality very thoroughly. It is argued that the instances given by Lautman of the realisation of dialectical ideas outside of mathematics and mathematical physics are rather slight, leading us to conclude that the ideas he so brilliantly describes are immanent to mathematical practice, rather than belonging to “an ideal reality, superior to mathematics”. (shrink)
We compare Karl Popper’s ideas concerning the falsifiability of a theory with similar notions from the part of statistical learning theory known as VC-theory . Popper’s notion of the dimension of a theory is contrasted with the apparently very similar VC-dimension. Having located some divergences, we discuss how best to view Popper’s work from the perspective of statistical learning theory, either as a precursor or as aiming to capture a different learning activity.
Friedman's rich account of the way the mathematical sciences ideally are transformed affords mathematics a more influential role than is common in the philosophy of science. In this paper I assess Friedman's position and argue that we can improve on it by pursuing further the parallels between mathematics and science. We find a richness to the organisation of mathematics similar to that Friedman finds in physics.
Mathematicians typically invoke a wide range of reasons as to why their research is valuable. These reveal considerable differences between their personal images of mathematics. One of the most interesting of these concerns the relative importance accorded to conceptual reformulation and development compared with that accorded to the achievement of concrete results. Here I explore the conceptualists' claim that the scales are tilted too much in favour of the latter. I do so by taking as a case study the debate (...) surrounding the question as to whether groupoids are significantly more powerful than groups at capturing the symmetry of a mathematical situation. The introduction of groupoids provides a suitable case as they score highly according to criteria relating to theory-building rather than problem-solving.Several of the arguments for the adoption of the groupoid concept are outlined, including claims as to its capacity for reformulating existing theory, its ability to measure symmetry more systematically, and its ‘naturalness’. This last notion is given an extensive treatment. (shrink)
Forms of justification for inductive machine learning techniques are discussed and classified into four types. This is done with a view to introduce some of these techniques and their justificatory guarantees to the attention of philosophers, and to initiate a discussion as to whether they must be treated separately or rather can be viewed consistently from within a single framework.
Bayesian theory now incorporates a vast body of mathematical, statistical and computational techniques that are widely applied in a panoply of disciplines, from artificial intelligence to zoology. Yet Bayesians rarely agree on the basics, even on the question of what Bayesianism actually is. This book is about the basics e about the opportunities, questions and problems that face Bayesianism today.
The problem of dataset shift can be viewed in the light of the more general problems of induction, in particular the question of what it is about some objects' features or properties which allow us to project correlations confidently to other times and other places.
Modal Homotopy Type Theory: The Prospect of a New Logic for Philosophy provides a reasonably gentle introduction to this new logic, thoroughly motivated by intuitive explanations of the need for all of its component parts, and illustrated through innovative applications of the calculus.
In this paper I assess the obstacles to a transfer of Lakatos's methodology of scientific research programmes to mathematics. I argue that, if we are to use something akin to this methodology to discuss modern mathematics with its interweaving theoretical development, we shall require a more intricate construction and we shall have to move still further away from seeing mathematical knowledge as a collection of statements. I also examine the notion of rivalry within mathematics and claim that this appears to (...) be significant only at a high level. In addition, ideas of ‘progress’ in mathematics are outlined. (shrink)
This article examines a particular debate between Eamonn Callan and William Galston concerning the need for a civic education which counters the divisive pull of pluralism by uniting the citizenry in patriotic allegiance to a single national identity. The article offers a preliminary understanding of nationalism and patriotism before setting out the terms of the debate. It then critically evaluates the central idea of Callan that one might be under an obligation morally to improve one''s own patriotic inheritance, pointing to (...) the ineliminable tension between the valuation of one''s own patria by its own terms and a detached critical reason. It concludes by suggesting that we are, in advance of our education, members of a particular patria and that any education must be particularistic. Finally, the danger is noted of presuming that, in each case, there is a single, determinate national tradition. (shrink)
This is a review essay about DavidCorfield and Jon Williamson's anthology Foundations of Bayesianism. Taken together, the fifteen essays assembled in the book assess the state of the art in Bayesianism. Such an assessment is timely, because decision theory and formal epistemology have become disciplines that are no longer taught on a routine basis in good philosophy departments. Thus we need to ask: Quo vadis, Bayesianism? The subjects of the articles include Bayesian group decision theory, approaches to (...) the concept of probability, Bayesian approaches in the philosophy of mathematics, reflections on the relationship between causation and probability, the Independence axiom, and a range of criticisms of Bayesianism, among other subjects. While critical of some of the arguments presented in the articles, this review recommends Corfield and Williamson's volume to anyone who is trying to stay abreast of Bayesian research. (shrink)
When mathematicians think of the philosophy of mathematics, they probably think of endless debates about what numbers are and whether they exist. Since plenty of mathematical progress continues to be made without taking a stance on either of these questions, mathematicians feel confident they can work without much regard for philosophical reflections. In his sharp–toned, sprawling book, DavidCorfield acknowledges the irrelevance of much contemporary philosophy of mathematics to current mathematical practice, and proposes reforming the subject accordingly.
From title to back cover, a polemic runs through DavidCorfield's "Towards a Philosophy of Real Mathematics". Corfield repeatedly complains that philosophers of mathematics have ignored the interesting and important mathematical developments of the past seventy years, ‘filtering’ the details of mathematical practice out of philosophical discussion. His aim is to remedy the discipline’s long-sightedness and, by precept and example, to redirect philosophical attention towards current developments in mathematics. This review discusses some strands of Corfield’s philosophy (...) of real mathematics and briefly assesses some of his objections to orthodox philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
According to Richard Gelwick, one of the fundamental implications of Polanyi’s epistemology is that all intellectual disciplines are inherently heuristic. This article draws out the implications of a heuristic vision of theology latent in Polanyi’s thought by placing contemporary theologian David Brown’s dynamic understanding of tradition, imagination, and revelation in the context of a Polanyian-inspired vision of reality. Consequently, such a theology will follow the example of science, reimagining its task as one of discovery rather than mere reflection on (...) a timeless body of divine revelation. The ongoing development of a theological tradition thus involves the attempt to bring one’s understanding of the question of God to bear on the whole of the human experience. The pursuit of theology as a heuristic endeavor is a bold attempt to construct an integrated vision of nothing less than the entirety of all that is, without absolutizing one’s vision, and without giving up on the question of truth. (shrink)
This chapter presents David Foster Wallace's views about three positions regarding the good life—ironism, hedonism, and narrative theories. Ironism involves distancing oneself from everything one says or does, and putting on Wallace's so-called “mask of ennui.” Wallace said that the notion appeals to ironists because it insulates them from criticism. However, he reiterated that ironists can be criticized for failing to value anything. Hedonism states that a good life consists in pleasure. Wallace rejected such a notion, doubting that pleasure (...) could play a fundamental role in the good life. Lastly, narrative theories characterize the good life by fidelity to a unified narrative -- a systematic story about one's life, composed of a set of ends or principles according to which one lives. Wallace believed that these theories turn people into spectators, rather than the participants in their own lives. (shrink)
This paper provides an overview on David Lewis's writings about persistence. I focus on two issues. First, what is the relationship between the doctrine of Humean Supervenience and the rejection of endurantism? Second, why did Lewis not adopt a stage theory of persistence, given that he advocated a counterpart theory of modality?
First part of the translation into Spanish of David Lewis' "New Work for a Theory of Universals", corresponding to the introduction and the first two sections of the original paper. || Primera parte de la traducción al español del trabajo de David Lewis "New Work for a Theory of Universals", correspondiente a la introducción y las dos primeras secciones del artículo original. Artículo original publicado en: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 61, No. 4, Dec. 1983, pp. 343-377.
Second part of the translation into Spanish of David Lewis' "New Work for a Theory of Universals", corresponding to the last sections of the original paper. || Segunda parte de la traducción al español del trabajo de David Lewis "New Work for a Theory of Universals", correspondiente a últimas secciones del artículo original. Artículo original publicado en: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 61, No. 4, Dec. 1983, pp. 343-377.
David Bohm is one of the foremost scientific thinkers of today and one of the most distinguished scientists of his generation. His challenge to the conventional understanding of quantum theory has led scientists to reexamine what it is they are going and his ideas have been an inspiration across a wide range of disciplines. _Quantum Implications_ is a collection of original contributions by many of the world' s leading scholars and is dedicated to David Bohm, his work and (...) the issues raised by his ideas. The contributors range across physics, philosophy, biology, art, psychology, and include some of the most distinguished scientists of the day. There is an excellent introduction by the editors, putting Bohm's work in context and setting right some of the misconceptions that have persisted about the work of David Bohm. (shrink)