Mathematical and Moral Disagreement

Philosophical Quarterly 70 (279):302-327 (2020)
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Abstract

The existence of fundamental moral disagreements is a central problem for moral realism and has often been contrasted with an alleged absence of disagreement in mathematics. However, mathematicians do in fact disagree on fundamental questions, for example on which set-theoretic axioms are true, and some philosophers have argued that this increases the plausibility of moral vis-à-vis mathematical realism. I argue that the analogy between mathematical and moral disagreement is not as straightforward as those arguments present it. In particular, I argue that pluralist accounts of mathematics render fundamental mathematical disagreements compatible with mathematical realism in a way in which moral disagreements and moral realism are not. 11

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Silvia Jonas
Universität Bamberg

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