Citations of:
Mathematical necessity and reality
Australasian Journal of Philosophy 67 (3):286 – 294 (1989)
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Leibniz's bestofallpossible worlds solution to the problem of evil is defended. Enlightenment misrepresentations are removed. The apparent obviousness of the possibility of better worlds is undermined by the much better understanding achieved in modern mathematical sciences of how global structure constrains local possibilities. It is argued that alternative views, especially standard materialism, fail to make sense of the problem ofevil, by implying that evil does not matter, absolutely speaking. Finally, itis shown how ordinary religious thinking incorporates the essentials of Leibniz's (...) 

The imperviousness of mathematical truth to antiobjectivist attacks has always heartened those who defend objectivism in other areas, such as ethics. It is argued that the parallel between mathematics and ethics is close and does support objectivist theories of ethics. The parallel depends on the foundational role of equality in both disciplines. Despite obvious differences in their subject matter, mathematics and ethics share a status as pure forms of knowledge, distinct from empirical sciences. A pure understanding of principles is possible (...) 

It may be a myth that Plato wrote over the entrance to the Academy “Let noone ignorant of geometry enter here.” But it is a wellchosen motto for his view in the Republic that mathematical training is especially productive of understanding in abstract realms, notably ethics. That view is sound and we should return to it. Ethical theory has been bedevilled by the idea that ethics is fundamentally about actions (right and wrong, rights, duties, virtues, dilemmas and so on). That (...) 

An early version of the work on mathematics as the science of structure that appeared later as An Aristotelian Realist Philosophy of Mathematics (2014). 

An Aristotelian Philosophy of Mathematics breaks the impasse between Platonist and nominalist views of mathematics. Neither a study of abstract objects nor a mere language or logic, mathematics is a science of real aspects of the world as much as biology is. For the first time, a philosophy of mathematics puts applied mathematics at the centre. Quantitative aspects of the world such as ratios of heights, and structural ones such as symmetry and continuity, are parts of the physical world and (...) 

Aristotelian, or nonPlatonist, realism holds that mathematics is a science of the real world, just as much as biology or sociology are. Where biology studies living things and sociology studies human social relations, mathematics studies the quantitative or structural aspects of things, such as ratios, or patterns, or complexity, or numerosity, or symmetry. Let us start with an example, as Aristotelians always prefer, an example that introduces the essential themes of the Aristotelian view of mathematics. A typical mathematical truth is (...) 

A polemical account of Australian philosophy up to 2003, emphasising its unique aspects (such as commitment to realism) and the connections between philosophers' views and their lives. Topics include early idealism, the dominance of John Anderson in Sydney, the Orr case, Catholic scholasticism, Melbourne Wittgensteinianism, philosophy of science, the Sydney disturbances of the 1970s, Francofeminism, environmental philosophy, the philosophy of law and Mabo, ethics and Peter Singer. Realist theories especially praised are David Armstrong's on universals, David Stove's on logical probability (...) 

Many philosophers would concede that mathematics contributes to the abstractness of some of our most successful scientific representations. Still, it is hard to know what this abstractness really comes to or how to make a link between abstractness and success. I start by explaining how mathematics can increase the abstractness of our representations by distinguishing two kinds of abstractness. First, there is an abstract representation that eschews causal content. Second, there are families of representations with a common mathematical core that (...) 