A Note on Consistency and Platonism

In 43rd International Wittgenstein Symposium proceedings (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Is consistency the sort of thing that could provide a guide to mathematical ontology? If so, which notion of consistency suits this purpose? Mark Balaguer holds such a view in the context of platonism, the view that mathematical objects are non-causal, non-spatiotemporal, and non-mental. For the purposes of this paper, we will examine several notions of consistency with respect to how they can provide a platon-ist epistemology of mathematics. Only a Gödelian notion, we suggest, can provide a satisfactory guide to a platonist ontology. Is consistency the sort of thing that could provide a guide to mathematical ontology? If so, which notion of consistency suits this purpose? Mark Bala-guer holds such a view in the context of platonism, the view that mathematical objects are non-causal, non-spatiotemporal, and non-mental. Balaguer's version of Platonism, Full-Blooded Platonism (FBP), is the view that "there are as many abstract mathematical objects as there could be-i.e., there actually exist abstract mathematical objects of all possible kinds" (Balaguer, 2017, p. 381). He continues: Since FBP says that there are abstract mathematical objects of all possible kinds, it follows that if FBP is true, then every purely mathematical theory that could be true-i.e., that is internally consistent-accurately describes some collection of actually existing abstract objects. Thus it follows from FBP that in order to acquire knowledge of abstract objects, all we have to do is come up with an internally consistent purely mathematical theory (and know that it is internally consistent). (Balaguer, 2017, p. 381) * To be published in 43rd International Wittgenstein Symposium proceedings.

Author Profiles

V Alexis Peluce
The Graduate Center, CUNY

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