Among the various lecture courses that Edmund Husserl held during his time as a Privatdozent at the University of Halle (1887-1901), there was one on "Ausgewählte Fragen aus der Philosophie der Mathematik" (Selected Questions from the Philosophy of Mathematics), which he gave twice, once in the WS 1889/90 and again in WS 1890/91. As Husserl reports in his letter to Carl Stumpf of February 1890, he lectured mainly on “spatial-logical questions” and gave an extensive critique of the Riemann-Helmholtz theories. Indeed, (...) in K I 28 many lectures on this subject can be found, which are for the greater part published in Husserliana XXI. The lecture contained in K I 28/4-12 at the Husserl-Archives Leuven, however, was left out of the selection, because the lecture contained “an analysis of the concept of number” whose content is “already known” from the Philosophie der Arithmetik. Indeed, since the lecture is from the WS 1889/90, the manuscript allows a glimpse of Husserl’s ideas halfway between his Habilitationsschrift (1887) and the Philosophie der Arithmetik (1891). Among other things, in this lecture we find the first documented use of the terms "Gestalt" and "Gestaltmoment" in Husserl. (shrink)
Dove and Machery both argue that recent findings about the nature of numerical representation present problems for Concept Empiricism. I shall argue that, whilst this evidence does challenge certain versions of CE, such as Prinz, it needn’t be seen as problematic to the general CE approach. Recent research can arguably be seen to support a CE account of number concepts. Neurological and behavioral evidence suggests that systems involved in the perception of numerical properties are also implicated in numerical (...) cognition. Furthermore, the discovery of associations between spatial and numerical representations also lends independent support to a CE approach. Although these findings support CE in general, certain versions of the theory may need revising in order to accommodate them. In particular, it may be necessary to either jettison Prinz's Modal Specificity Hypothesis or to revise one’s method for individuating modal representational formats. (shrink)
Rips et al. consider whether representations of individual objects or analog magnitudes are building blocks for the concept natural number. We argue for a third core capacity – the ability to bind representations of individuals into sets. However, even with this addition to the list of starting materials, we agree that a significant acquisition story is needed to capture natural number.
Carey leaves unaddressed an important evolutionary puzzle: In the absence of a numeral list, how could a concept of natural number ever have arisen in the first place? Here we suggest that the initial development of natural number must have bootstrapped on a material culture scaffold of some sort, and illustrate how this might have occurred using strings of beads.
Studies by Gardiner and colleagues connecting musical pitch and arithmetic learning support Rips et al.'s proposal that natural number concepts are constructed on a base of innate abilities. Our evidence suggests that innate ability concerning sequence ( or BSC) is fundamental. Mathematical engagement relating number to BSC does not develop automatically, but, rather, should be encouraged through teaching.
What is central to the progression of a sequence is the idea of succession, which is fundamentally a temporal notion. In Kant's ontology numbers are not objects but rules (schemata) for representing the magnitude of a quantum. The magnitude of a discrete quantum 11...11 is determined by a counting procedure, an operation which can be understood as a mapping from the ordinals to the cardinals. All empirical models for numbers isomorphic to 11...11 must conform to the transcendental determination of time-order. (...) Kant's transcendental model for number entails a procedural semantics in which the semantic value of the number-concept is defined in terms of temporal procedures. A number is constructible if and only if it can be schematized in a procedural form. This representability condition explains how an arbitrarily large number is representable and why Kant thinks that arithmetical statements are synthetic and not analytic. (shrink)
ABSTRACTA short piece by Frege, heretofore overlooked, containing a précis of his views on the concept of number, is presented, after some very brief questions about Frege's possible involvement in the wider intellectual milieu.
_The Foundations of Arithmetic_ is undoubtedly the best introduction to Frege's thought; it is here that Frege expounds the central notions of his philosophy, subjecting the views of his predecessors and contemporaries to devastating analysis. The book represents the first philosophically sound discussion of the concept of number in Western civilization. It profoundly influenced developments in the philosophy of mathematics and in general ontology.
This paper argues that Carnap both did not view and should not have viewed Frege's project in the foundations of mathematics as misguided metaphysics. The reason for this is that Frege's project was to give an explication of number in a very Carnapian sense — something that was not lost on Carnap. Furthermore, Frege gives pragmatic justification for the basic features of his system, especially where there are ontological considerations. It will be argued that even on the question of (...) the independent existence of abstract objects, Frege and Carnap held remarkably similar views. I close with a discussion of why, despite all this, Frege would not accept the principle of tolerance. (shrink)
The paper examines the roots of Husserlian phenomenology in Weierstrass's approach to analysis. After elaborating on Weierstrass's programme of arithmetization of analysis, the paper examines Husserl's Philosophy of Arithmetic as an attempt to provide foundations to analysis. The Philosophy of Arithmetic consists of two parts; the first discusses authentic arithmetic and the second symbolic arithmetic. Husserl's novelty is to use Brentanian descriptive analysis to clarify the fundamental concepts of arithmetic in the first part. In the second part, he founds the (...) symbolic extension of the authentically given arithmetic with stepwise symbolic operations. In the process of doing so, Husserl comes close to defining the modern concept of computability. The paper concludes with a brief comparison between Husserl and Frege. While Frege chose to subject arithmetic to logical analysis, Husserl wants to clarify arithmetic as it is given to us. Both engage in a kind of analysis, but while Frege analyses within Begriffsschrift, Husserl analyses our experiences. The difference in their methods of analysis is what ultimately grows into two separate schools in philosophy in the 20th century. (shrink)
In ‘The Train Paradox’, I argued that sequential random selections from the natural numbers would grow through time. I used this claim to present a paradox. In response to this proposed paradox, Jon Pérez Laraudogoitia has argued that random selections from the natural numbers do not grow through time. In this paper, I defend and expand on the argument that random selections from the natural numbers grow through time. I also situate this growth of random selections in the context of (...) my overall work on infinite number, which involves two main claims: 1) infinite numbers, properly understood, are the infinite natural numbers in a nonstandard model of the reals, and 2) ω is potentially infinite. (shrink)
There can be no doubt about the value of Frege's contributions to the philosophy of mathematics. First, he invented quantification theory and this was the first step toward making precise the notion of a purely logical deduction. Secondly, he was the first to publish a logical analysis of the ancestral R* of a relation R, which yields a definition of R* in second-order logic.1 Only a narrow and arid conception of philosophy would exclude these two achievements. Thirdly and very importantly, (...) the discussion in §§58-60 of the G r u n d l a g e n defends a conception of mathematical existence, to be found in Cantor (1883) and later in the writings of Dedekind and Hilbert, by basing it upon considerations about meaning which have general application, outside mathematics.2.. (shrink)
The dissertation is an inquiry into the ontology and epistemology of numbers. As regards the former, the Fregean conception of numbers as objects and the Russellian conception of numbers as higher-level entities are both critically examined. A conception of numbers as modes of existence , that is, ways or manners in which things exist, is introduced and defended instead. As regards the latter, the basic concepts of arithmetic are explicated in terms of pure logic alone, and all the truths of (...) arithmetic are shown to follow from those explications solely by logical means. A new version of logicism in the philosophy of arithmetic is thereby established. (shrink)