This chapter tries to answer the following question: How should we conceive of the method of mathematics, if we take a naturalist stance? The problem arises since mathematicalknowledge is regarded as the paradigm of certain knowledge, because mathematics is based on the axiomatic method. Moreover, natural science is deeply mathematized, and science is crucial for any naturalist perspective. But mathematics seems to provide a counterexample both to methodological and ontological naturalism. To face this problem, some authors (...) tried to naturalize mathematics by relying on evolutionism. But several difficulties arise when we try to do this. This chapter suggests that, in order to naturalize mathematics, it is better to take the method of mathematics to be the analytic method, rather than the axiomatic method, and thus conceive of mathematicalknowledge as plausible knowledge. (shrink)
Much work in MKM depends on the application of formal logic to mathematics. However, much mathematicalknowledge is informal. Luckily, formal logic only represents one tradition in logic, specifically the modeling of inference in terms of logical form. Many inferences cannot be captured in this manner. The study of such inferences is still within the domain of logic, and is sometimes called informal logic. This paper explores some of the benefits informal logic may have for the management of (...) informal mathematicalknowledge. (shrink)
How should one conceive of the method of mathematics, if one takes a naturalist stance? Mathematicalknowledge is regarded as the paradigm of certain knowledge, since mathematics is based on the axiomatic method. Natural science is deeply mathematized, and science is crucial for any naturalist perspective. But mathematics seems to provide a counterexample both to methodological and ontological naturalism. To face this problem, some naturalists try to naturalize mathematics relying on Darwinism. But several difficulties arise when one (...) tries to naturalize in this way the traditional view of mathematics, according to which mathematicalknowledge is certain and the method of mathematics is the axiomatic method. This paper suggests that, in order to naturalize mathematics through Darwinism, it is better to take the method of mathematics not to be the axiomatic method. (shrink)
In this paper we apply social epistemology to mathematical proofs and their role in mathematicalknowledge. The most famous modern collaborative mathematical proof effort is the Classification of Finite Simple Groups. The history and sociology of this proof have been well-documented by Alma Steingart (2012), who highlights a number of surprising and unusual features of this collaborative endeavour that set it apart from smaller-scale pieces of mathematics. These features raise a number of interesting philosophical issues, but (...) have received very little attention. In this paper, we will consider the philosophical tensions that Steingart uncovers, and use them to argue that the best account of the epistemic status of the Classification Theorem will be essentially and ineliminably social. This forms part of the broader argument that in order to understand mathematical proofs, we must appreciate their social aspects. (shrink)
In mathematics, any form of probabilistic proof obtained through the application of a probabilistic method is not considered as a legitimate way of gaining mathematicalknowledge. In a series of papers, Don Fallis has defended the thesis that there are no epistemic reasons justifying mathematicians’ rejection of probabilistic proofs. The present paper identifies such an epistemic reason. More specifically, it is argued here that if one adopts a conception of mathematicalknowledge in which an epistemic subject (...) can know a mathematical proposition based solely on a probabilistic proof, one is then forced to admit that such an epistemic subject can know several lottery propositions based solely on probabilistic evidence. Insofar as knowledge of lottery propositions on the basis of probabilistic evidence alone is denied by the vast majority of epistemologists, it is concluded that this constitutes an epistemic reason for rejecting probabilistic proofs as a means of acquiring mathematicalknowledge. (shrink)
We propose that, for the purpose of studying theoretical properties of the knowledge of an agent with Artificial General Intelligence (that is, the knowledge of an AGI), a pragmatic way to define such an agent’s knowledge (restricted to the language of Epistemic Arithmetic, or EA) is as follows. We declare an AGI to know an EA-statement φ if and only if that AGI would include φ in the resulting enumeration if that AGI were commanded: “Enumerate all the (...) EA-sentences which you know.” This definition is non-circular because an AGI, being capable of practical English communication, is capable of understanding the everyday English word “know” independently of how any philosopher formally defines knowledge; we elaborate further on the non-circularity of this circular-looking definition. This elegantly solves the problem that different AGIs may have different internal knowledge definitions and yet we want to study knowledge of AGIs in general, without having to study different AGIs separately just because they have separate internal knowledge definitions. Finally, we suggest how this definition of AGI knowledge can be used as a bridge which could allow the AGI research community to import certain abstract results about mechanical knowing agents from mathematical logic. (shrink)
Callard (2007) argues that it is metaphysically possible that a mathematical object, although abstract, causally affects the brain. I raise the following objections. First, a successful defence of mathematical realism requires not merely the metaphysical possibility but rather the actuality that a mathematical object affects the brain. Second, mathematical realists need to confront a set of three pertinent issues: why a mathematical object does not affect other concrete objects and other mathematical objects, what counts (...) as a mathematical object, and how we can have knowledge about an unchanging object. (shrink)
I defend a new position in philosophy of mathematics that I call mathematical inferentialism. It holds that a mathematical sentence can perform the function of facilitating deductive inferences from some concrete sentences to other concrete sentences, that a mathematical sentence is true if and only if all of its concrete consequences are true, that the abstract world does not exist, and that we acquire mathematicalknowledge by confirming concrete sentences. Mathematical inferentialism has several advantages (...) over mathematical realism and fictionalism. (shrink)
A basic thesis of Neokantian epistemology and philosophy of science contends that the knowing subject and the object to be known are only abstractions. What really exists, is the relation between both. For the elucidation of this “knowledge relation ("Erkenntnisrelation") the Neokantians of the Marburg school used a variety of mathematical metaphors. In this con-tribution I reconsider some of these metaphors proposed by Paul Natorp, who was one of the leading members of the Marburg school. It is shown (...) that Natorp's metaphors are not unrelated to those used in some currents of contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
2nd edition. Many-valued logics are those logics that have more than the two classical truth values, to wit, true and false; in fact, they can have from three to infinitely many truth values. This property, together with truth-functionality, provides a powerful formalism to reason in settings where classical logic—as well as other non-classical logics—is of no avail. Indeed, originally motivated by philosophical concerns, these logics soon proved relevant for a plethora of applications ranging from switching theory to cognitive modeling, and (...) they are today in more demand than ever, due to the realization that inconsistency and vagueness in knowledge bases and information processes are not only inevitable and acceptable, but also perhaps welcome. The main modern applications of (any) logic are to be found in the digital computer, and we thus require the practical knowledge how to computerize—which also means automate—decisions (i.e. reasoning) in many-valued logics. This, in turn, necessitates a mathematical foundation for these logics. This book provides both these mathematical foundation and practical knowledge in a rigorous, yet accessible, text, while at the same time situating these logics in the context of the satisfiability problem (SAT) and automated deduction. The main text is complemented with a large selection of exercises, a plus for the reader wishing to not only learn about, but also do something with, many-valued logics. (shrink)
Mathematics is obviously important in the sciences. And so it is likely to be equally important in any effort that aims to understand God in a scientifically significant way or that aims to clarify the relations between science and theology. The degree to which God has any perfection is absolutely infinite. We use contemporary mathematics to precisely define that absolute infinity. For any perfection, we use transfinite recursion to define an endlessly ascending series of degrees of that perfection. That series (...) rises to an absolutely infinite degree of that perfection. God has that absolutely infinite degree. We focus on the perfections of knowledge, power, and benevolence. Our model of divine infinity thus builds a bridge between mathematics and theology. (shrink)
In attempt to provide an answer to the question of origin of deductive proofs, I argue that Aristotle’s philosophy of math is more accurate opposed to a Platonic philosophy of math, given the evidence of how mathematics began. Aristotle says that mathematicalknowledge is a posteriori, known through induction; but once knowledge has become unqualified it can grow into deduction. Two pieces of recent scholarship on Greek mathematics propose new ways of thinking about how mathematics began in (...) the Greek culture. Both claimed there was a close relationship between the culture and mathematicians; mathematics was understood through imaginative processes, experiencing the proofs in tangible ways, and establishing a consistent unified form of argumentation. These pieces of evidence provide the context in which Aristotle worked and their contributions lend support to the argument that mathematical premises as inductively available is a better way of understanding the origins of deductive practices, opposed to the Platonic tradition. (shrink)
I present an argument that for any computer-simulated civilization we design, the mathematicalknowledge recorded by that civilization has one of two limitations. It is untrustworthy, or it is weaker than our own mathematicalknowledge. This is paradoxical because it seems that nothing prevents us from building in all sorts of advantages for the inhabitants of said simulation.
The Knower paradox purports to place surprising a priori limitations on what we can know. According to orthodoxy, it shows that we need to abandon one of three plausible and widely-held ideas: that knowledge is factive, that we can know that knowledge is factive, and that we can use logical/mathematical reasoning to extend our knowledge via very weak single-premise closure principles. I argue that classical logic, not any of these epistemic principles, is the culprit. I develop (...) a consistent theory validating all these principles by combining Hartry Field's theory of truth with a modal enrichment developed for a different purpose by Michael Caie. The only casualty is classical logic: the theory avoids paradox by using a weaker-than-classical K3 logic. I then assess the philosophical merits of this approach. I argue that, unlike the traditional semantic paradoxes involving extensional notions like truth, its plausibility depends on the way in which sentences are referred to--whether in natural languages via direct sentential reference, or in mathematical theories via indirect sentential reference by Gödel coding. In particular, I argue that from the perspective of natural language, my non-classical treatment of knowledge as a predicate is plausible, while from the perspective of mathematical theories, its plausibility depends on unresolved questions about the limits of our idealized deductive capacities. (shrink)
This article is mainly a critique of Philip Kitcher's book, The Nature of MathematicalKnowledge. Four weaknesses in Kitcher's objection to Kant arise out of Kitcher's failure to recognize the perspectival nature of Kant's position. A proper understanding of Kant's theory of mathematics requires awareness of the perspectival nuances implicit in Kant's theory of pure intuition.
This paper aims to provide modal foundations for mathematical platonism. I examine Hale and Wright’s (2009) objections to the merits and need, in the defense of mathematical platonism and its epistemology, of the thesis of Necessitism. In response to Hale and Wright’s objections to the role of epistemic and metaphysical modalities in providing justification for both the truth of abstraction principles and the success of mathematical predicate reference, I examine the Necessitist commitments of the abundant conception of (...) properties endorsed by Hale and Wright and examined in Hale (2013a); examine cardinality issues which arise depending on whether Necessitism is accepted at first- and higher-order; and demonstrate how a multi-dimensional intensional approach to the epistemology of mathematics, augmented with Necessitism, is consistent with Hale and Wright’s notion of there being epistemic entitlement rationally to trust that abstraction principles are true. Epistemic and metaphysical modality may thus be shown to play a constitutive role in vindicating the reality of mathematical objects and truth, and in explaining our possible knowledge thereof. (shrink)
A crucial part of the contemporary interest in logicism in the philosophy of mathematics resides in its idea that arithmetical knowledge may be based on logical knowledge. Here an implementation of this idea is considered that holds that knowledge of arithmetical principles may be based on two things: (i) knowledge of logical principles and (ii) knowledge that the arithmetical principles are representable in the logical principles. The notions of representation considered here are related to theory-based (...) and structure-based notions of representation from contemporary mathematical logic. It is argued that the theory-based versions of such logicism are either too liberal (the plethora problem) or are committed to intuitively incorrect closure conditions (the consistency problem). Structure-based versions must on the other hand respond to a charge of begging the question (the circularity problem) or explain how one may have a knowledge of structure in advance of a knowledge of axioms (the signature problem). This discussion is significant because it gives us a better idea of what a notion of representation must look like if it is to aid in realizing some of the traditional epistemic aims of logicism in the philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
Games of chance are developed in their physical consumer-ready form on the basis of mathematical models, which stand as the premises of their existence and represent their physical processes. There is a prevalence of statistical and probabilistic models in the interest of all parties involved in the study of gambling – researchers, game producers and operators, and players – while functional models are of interest more to math-inclined players than problem-gambling researchers. In this paper I present a structural analysis (...) of the knowledge attached to mathematical models of games of chance and the act of modeling, arguing that such knowledge holds potential in the prevention and cognitive treatment of excessive gambling, and I propose further research in this direction. (shrink)
General Relativity says gravity is a push caused by space-time's curvature. Combining General Relativity with E=mc2 results in distances being totally deleted from space-time/gravity by future technology, and in expansion or contraction of the universe as a whole being eliminated. The road to these conclusions has branches shining light on supersymmetry and superconductivity. This push of gravitational waves may be directed from intergalactic space towards galaxy centres, helping to hold galaxies together and also creating supermassive black holes. Together with the (...) waves' possible production of "dark" matter in higher dimensions, there's ample reason to believe knowledge of gravitational waves has barely begun. Advanced waves are usually discarded by scientists because they're thought to violate the causality principle. Just as advanced waves are usually discarded, very few physicists or mathematicians will venture to ascribe a physical meaning to Wick rotation and "imaginary" time. Here, that maths (when joined with Mobius-strip and Klein-bottle topology) unifies space and time into one space-time, and allows construction of what may be called "imaginary computers". This research idea you're reading is not intended to be a formal theory presenting scientific jargon and mathematical formalism. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore Bunge’s fictionism in philosophy of mathematics. After an overview of Bunge’s views, in particular his mathematical structuralism, I argue that the comparison between mathematical objects and fictions ultimately fails. I then sketch a different ontology for mathematics, based on Thomasson’s metaphysical work. I conclude that mathematics deserves its own ontology, and that, in the end, much work remains to be done to clarify the various forms of dependence that are involved in mathematical (...)knowledge, in particular its dependence on mental/brain states and material objects. (shrink)
The notion of implicit commitment has played a prominent role in recent works in logic and philosophy of mathematics. Although implicit commitment is often associated with highly technical studies, it remains so far an elusive notion. In particular, it is often claimed that the acceptance of a mathematical theory implicitly commits one to the acceptance of a Uniform Reflection Principle for it. However, philosophers agree that a satisfactory analysis of the transition from a theory to its reflection principle is (...) still lacking. We provide an axiomatization of the minimal commitments implicit in the acceptance of a mathematical theory. The theory entails that the Uniform Reflection Principle is part of one's implicit commitments, and sheds light on the reason why this is so. We argue that the theory has interesting epistemological consequences in that it explains how justified belief in the axioms of a theory can be preserved to the corresponding reflection principle. The theory also improves on recent proposals for the analysis of implicit commitment based on truth or epistemic notions. (shrink)
To demarcate the limits of experimental knowledge, we probe the limits of what might be called an experiment. By appeal to examples of scientific practice from astrophysics and analogue gravity, we demonstrate that the reliability of knowledge regarding certain phenomena gained from an experiment is not circumscribed by the manipulability or accessibility of the target phenomena. Rather, the limits of experimental knowledge are set by the extent to which strategies for what we call ‘inductive triangulation’ are available: (...) that is, the validation of the mode of inductive reasoning involved in the source-target inference via appeal to one or more distinct and independent modes of inductive reasoning. When such strategies are able to partially mitigate reasonable doubt, we can take a theory regarding the phenomena to be well supported by experiment. When such strategies are able to fully mitigate reasonable doubt, we can take a theory regarding the phenomena to be established by experiment. There are good reasons to expect the next generation of analogue experiments to provide genuine knowledge of unmanipulable and inaccessible phenomena such that the relevant theories can be understood as well supported. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue ‘The next generation of analogue gravity experiments’. (shrink)
Just started a new book. The aim is to establish a science of knowledge in the same way that we have a science of physics or a science of materials. This might appear as an overly ambitious, possibly arrogant, objective, but bear with me. On the day I am beginning to write it–June 7th, 2020–, I think I am in possession of a few things that will help me to achieve this objective. Again, bear with me. My aim is (...) well reflected in the title I chose (just now) for this book: Knowledge & Logic: Towards a science of knowledge. Its most important feature is that I shall take logic to be to knowledge science as calculus is to physics or to materials science. I do not intend to reclaim knowledge from the bosom of philosophy, in which, known as epistemology its erudite discussion has hardly progressed since Plato first defined it as true belief with logos. With only a few adjustments, it will actually provide me with the right, science-bound start. More recently, knowledge has been reclaimed by the field of BA, a reclaim that has opened the box of Pandora: Among the evils, and perhaps at the head of the list, is an overly lay, essentially naive, notion of knowledge. But the very idea that one can have something like “knowledge (management) software” puts us on the right track. (shrink)
This review concludes that if the authors know what mathematical logic is they have not shared their knowledge with the readers. This highly praised book is replete with errors and incoherency.
It is sometimes argued that if PDP networks can be trained to make correct judgements of grammaticality we have an existence proof that there is enough information in the stimulus to permit learning grammar by inductive means alone. This seems inconsistent superficially with Gold's theorem and at a deeper level with the fact that networks are designed on the basis of assumptions about the domain of the function to be learned. To clarify the issue I consider what we should learn (...) from Gold's theorem, then go on to inquire into what it means to say that knowledge is domain specific. I first try sharpening the intuitive notion of domain specific knowledge by reviewing the alleged difference between processing limitations due to shortage of resources vs shortages of knowledge. After rejecting different formulations of this idea, I suggest that a model is language specific if it transparently refer to entities and facts about language as opposed to entities and facts of more general mathematical domains. This is a useful but not necessary condition. I then suggest that a theory is domain specific if it belongs to a model family which is attuned in a law-like way to domain regularities. This leads to a comparison of PDP and parameter setting models of language learning. I conclude with a novel version of the poverty of stimulus argument. (shrink)
Aristotle was the first thinker to articulate a taxonomy of scientific knowledge, which he set out in Posterior Analytics. Furthermore, the “special sciences”, i.e., biology, zoology and the natural sciences in general, originated with Aristotle. A classical question is whether the mathematical axiomatic method proposed by Aristotle in the Analytics is independent of the special sciences. If so, Aristotle would have been unable to match the natural sciences with the scientific patterns he established in the Analytics. In this (...) paper, I reject this pessimistic approach towards the scientific value of natural sciences. I believe that there are traces of biology in the Analytics as well as traces of the Analytics’ theory in zoological treatises. Moreover, for a lack of chronological clarity, I think it’s better to unify Aristotle’s model of scientific research, which includes Analytics and the natural sciences together. (shrink)
This book is written so as to be ‘accessible to philosophers without a mathematical background’. The reviewer can assure the reader that this aim is achieved, even if only by focusing throughout on just one example of an arithmetical truth, namely ‘7+5=12’. This example’s familiarity will be reassuring; but its loneliness in this regard will not. Quantified propositions — even propositions of Goldbach type — are below the author’s radar.The author offers ‘a new kind of arithmetical epistemology’, one which (...) ‘respects certain important intuitions’ 1 : apriorism, realism, and empiricism. The book contains some clarification of these ‘isms’, and some thoughtful critiques of major positions regarding them, as espoused by such representative figures as Boghossian, Bealer, Peacocke, Field, Bostock, Maddy, Locke, Kant, C.I. Lewis, Ayer, Quine, Fodor, and McDowell. The philosophical reader will find some interest and value in these wider-ranging discussions. Our concern in this review, however, is to examine closely the original positive proposal on offer.Arithmetical truths, the author maintains, are conceptual truths. Knowing truths like 7+5=12 involves no ‘epistemic reliance on any empirical evidence’; but that, she says, is not to claim ‘epistemic independence of the senses altogether’. She wants to show that "experience grounds our concepts … and then mere conceptual examination enables us to learn arithmetical truths ." Concepts that are ‘appropriately sensitive’ to ‘the nature of [an independent] reality’ she calls grounded. Because of the role of grounded concepts, ‘arithmetical truths explain our arithmetical beliefs in the right sort of way for those beliefs to count as knowledge’ .In the context of her concentration on the special nature of arithmetical knowledge, the author offers what could strike some bystanders as an unnecessarily over-ambitious account of knowledge tout court. Knowledge, for the author, is "true belief which … ". (shrink)
DEFINING OUR TERMS A “paradox" is an argumentation that appears to deduce a conclusion believed to be false from premises believed to be true. An “inconsistency proof for a theory" is an argumentation that actually deduces a negation of a theorem of the theory from premises that are all theorems of the theory. An “indirect proof of the negation of a hypothesis" is an argumentation that actually deduces a conclusion known to be false from the hypothesis alone or, more commonly, (...) from the hypothesis augmented by a set of premises known to be true. A “direct proof of a hypothesis" is an argumentation that actually deduces the hypothesis itself from premises known to be true. Since `appears', `believes' and `knows' all make elliptical reference to a participant, it is clear that `paradox', `indirect proof' and `direct proof' are all participant-relative. PARTICIPANT RELATIVITY In normal mathematical writing the participant is presumed to be “the community of mathematicians" or some more or less well-defined subcommunity and, therefore, omission of explicit reference to the participant is often warranted. However, in historical, critical, or philosophical writing focused on emerging branches of mathematics such omission often invites confusion. One and the same argumentation has been a paradox for one mathematician, an inconsistency proof for another, and an indirect proof to a third. One and the same argumentation-text can appear to one mathematician to express an indirect proof while appearing to another mathematician to express a direct proof. WHAT IS A PARADOX’S SOLUTION? Of the above four sorts of argumentation only the paradox invites “solution" or “resolution", and ordinarily this is to be accomplished either by discovering a logical fallacy in the “reasoning" of the argumentation or by discovering that the conclusion is not really false or by discovering that one of the premises is not really true. Resolution of a paradox by a participant amounts to reclassifying a formerly paradoxical argumentation either as a “fallacy", as a direct proof of its conclusion, as an indirect proof of the negation of one of its premises, as an inconsistency proof, or as something else depending on the participant's state of knowledge or belief. This illustrates why an argumentation which is a paradox to a given mathematician at a given time may well not be a paradox to the same mathematician at a later time. -/- The present article considers several set-theoretic argumentations that appeared in the period 1903-1908. The year 1903 saw the publication of B. Russell's Principles of mathematics, [Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 1903; Jbuch 34, 62]. The year 1908 saw the publication of Russell's article on type theory as well as Ernst Zermelo's two watershed articles on the axiom of choice and the foundations of set theory. The argumentations discussed concern “the largest cardinal", “the largest ordinal", the well-ordering principle, “the well-ordering of the continuum", denumerability of ordinals and denumerability of reals. The article shows that these argumentations were variously classified by various mathematicians and that the surrounding atmosphere was one of confusion and misunderstanding, partly as a result of failure to make or to heed distinctions similar to those made above. The article implies that historians have made the situation worse by not observing or not analysing the nature of the confusion. -/- RECOMMENDATION This well-written and well-documented article exemplifies the fact that clarification of history can be achieved through articulation of distinctions that had not been articulated (or were not being heeded) at the time. The article presupposes extensive knowledge of the history of mathematics, of mathematics itself (especially set theory) and of philosophy. It is therefore not to be recommended for casual reading. AFTERWORD: This review was written at the same time Corcoran was writing his signature “Argumentations and logic”[249] that covers much of the same ground in much more detail. https://www.academia.edu/14089432/Argumentations_and_Logic . (shrink)
Some recent work by philosophers of mathematics has been aimed at showing that our knowledge of the existence of at least some mathematical objects and/or sets can be epistemically grounded by appealing to perceptual experience. The sensory capacity that they refer to in doing so is the ability to perceive numbers, mathematical properties and/or sets. The chief defense of this view as it applies to the perception of sets is found in Penelope Maddy’s Realism in Mathematics, but (...) a number of other philosophers have made similar, if more simple, appeals of this sort. For example, Jaegwon Kim, John Bigelow, and John Bigelow and Robert Pargetter have all defended such views. The main critical issue that will be raised here concerns the coherence of the notions of set perception and mathematical perception, and whether appeals to such perceptual faculties can really provide any justification for or explanation of belief in the existence of sets, mathematical properties and/or numbers. (shrink)
In Issue 20210304 the paragraph "intuition of space" is reworded/improved. At ordinary scales, the ontological model proposed by Ontology of Knowledge (OK) does not call into question the representation of the world elaborated by common sense or science. This is not the world such as it appears to us and as science describes it that is challenged by the OK but the way it appears to the knowing subject and science. In spite of the efforts made to separate scientific (...) reasoning and metaphysical considerations, in spite of the rigorous construction of mathematics, these are not, in their very foundations, independent of modalities, of laws of representation of the world. The OK shows that logical facts Exist neither more nor less than the facts of the World which are Facts of Knowledge. The mathematical facts are facts of representation. Indeed : by the experimental proof, only the laws of the representation are proved persistent/consistent, because what science foresees and verifies with precision, it is not the facts of the world but the facts of the representation of the world. Beyond the laws of representation, nothing proves to us that there are laws of the world. Remember, however, that mathematics « are worth themselves » and can not be called into question « for themselves » by an ontology. The only question is the process of creating meaning that provides mathematics with their intuitions a priori. The first objective of this article will therefore be to identify and clarify what ruptures proposed by the OK could affect intuitions a priori which found mathematics but also could explain the remarkable ability of mathematics to represent the world. For this, three major intuitions of form will be analyzed, namely : the intuition of the One, the intuition of time and the intuition of space. Then considering mathematics in two major classes : {logic, arithmetic, set theory ...} on the one hand and geometry on the other hand, we will ask the questions : - How does the OK affect their premises and rules of inference ? - In case of incompatibility, under what conditions can such a mathematical theory be made compatible with the OK? - Can we deduce a possible extension of the theory ? (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Ethics: A Radical-constructivist Approach” by Andreas Quale. Upshot: The first of my two main goals in this commentary is to establish thinking of ethics as concepts rather than as non-cognitive knowledge. The second is to argue that establishing models of individuals’ ethical concepts is a scientific enterprise that is quite similar to establishing models of individuals’ mathematical concepts. To accomplish these two primary goals, I draw from my experience of working scientifically with (...) von Glasersfeld for 25 years while he was developing radical constructivism as a coherent model of knowing, and appeal to several of his basic insights to establish constructing models of ethical concepts as a scientific enterprise. (shrink)
Wittgenstein's paradoxical theses that unproved propositions are meaningless, proofs form new concepts and rules, and contradictions are of limited concern, led to a variety of interpretations, most of them centered on rule-following skepticism. We argue, with the help of C. S. Peirce's distinction between corollarial and theorematic proofs, that his intuitions are better explained by resistance to what we call conceptual omniscience, treating meaning as fixed content specified in advance. We interpret the distinction in the context of modern epistemic logic (...) and semantic information theory, and show how removing conceptual omniscience helps resolve Wittgenstein's paradoxes and explain the puzzle of deduction, its ability to generate new knowledge and meaning. (shrink)
For millennia, knowledge has eluded a precise definition. The industrialization of knowledge (IoK) and the associated proliferation of the so-called knowledge communities in the last few decades caused this state of affairs to deteriorate, namely by creating a trio composed of data, knowledge, and information (DIK) that is not unlike the aporia of the trinity in philosophy. This calls for a general theory of knowledge (ToK) that can work as a foundation for a science of (...)knowledge (SoK) and additionally distinguishes knowledge from both data and information. In this paper, I attempt to sketch this generality via the establishing of both knowledge structures and knowledge systems that can then be adopted/adapted by the diverse communities for the respective knowledge technologies and practices. This is achieved by means of a formal–indeed, mathematical–approach to epistemological matters a.k.a. formal epistemology. The corresponding application focus is on knowledge systems implementable as computer programs. (shrink)
Western science claims to provide unique, objective information about the world. This is supported by the observation that peoples across cultures will agree upon a common description of the physical world. Further, the use of scientific instruments and mathematics is claimed to enable the objectification of science. In this work, carried out by reviewing the scientific literature, the above claims are disputed systematically by evaluating the definition of physical reality and the scientific method, showing that empiricism relies ultimately upon the (...) human senses for the evaluation of scientific theories and that measuring instruments cannot replace the human sensory system. Nativist and constructivist theories of human sensory development are reviewed, and it is shown that nativist claims of core conceptual knowledge cannot be supported by the findings in the literature, which shows that perception does not simply arise from a process of maturation. Instead, sensory function requires a long process of learning through interactions with the environment. To more rigorously define physical reality and systematically evaluate the stability of perception, and thus the basis of empiricism, the development of the method of dimension analysis is reviewed. It is shown that this methodology, relied upon for the mathematical analysis of physical quantities, is itself based upon empiricism, and that all of physical reality can be described in terms of the three fundamental dimensions of mass, length and time. Hereafter the sensory modalities that inform us about these three dimensions are systematically evaluated. The following careful analysis of neuronal plasticity in these modalities shows that all the relevant senses acquire from the environment the capacity to apprehend physical reality. It is concluded that physical reality is acquired rather than given innately, and leads to the position that science cannot provide unique results. Rather, those it can provide are sufficient for a particular environmental setting. (shrink)
The literature on mathematics suggests that intuition plays a role in it as a ground of belief. This article explores the nature of intuition as it occurs in mathematical thinking. Section 1 suggests that intuitions should be understood by analogy with perceptions. Section 2 explains what fleshing out such an analogy requires. Section 3 discusses Kantian ways of fleshing it out. Section 4 discusses Platonist ways of fleshing it out. Section 5 sketches a proposal for resolving the main problem (...) facing Platonists—the problem of explaining how our experiences make contact with mathematical reality. (shrink)
The paper begins with an argument against eliminativism with respect to the propositional attitudes. There follows an argument that concepts are sui generis ante rem entities. A nonreductionist view of concepts and propositions is then sketched. This provides the background for a theory of concept possession, which forms the bulk of the paper. The central idea is that concept possession is to be analyzed in terms of a certain kind of pattern of reliability in one’s intuitions regarding the behavior of (...) the concept. The challenge is to find an analysis that is at once noncircular and fully general. Environmentalism, anti-individualism, holism, analyticity, etc. provide additional hurdles. The paper closes with a discussion of the theory’s implications for the Wittgenstein-Kripke puzzle about rule-following and the Benacerraf problem concerning mathematicalknowledge. (shrink)
In this paper, I will attempt to develop and defend a common form of intuitive resistance to the companions in guilt argument. I will argue that one can reasonably believe there are promising solutions to the access problem for mathematical realism that don’t translate to moral realism. In particular, I will suggest that the structuralist project of accounting for mathematicalknowledge in terms of some form of logical knowledge offers significant hope of success while no analogous (...) approach offers such hope for moral realism. (shrink)
This paper argues that new light may be shed on mathematical reasoning in its non-pathological forms by careful observation of its pathologies. The first section explores the application to mathematics of recent work on fallacy theory, specifically the concept of an ‘argumentation scheme’: a characteristic pattern under which many similar inferential steps may be subsumed. Fallacies may then be understood as argumentation schemes used inappropriately. The next section demonstrates how some specific mathematical fallacies may be characterized in terms (...) of argumentation schemes. The third section considers the phenomenon of correct answers which result from incorrect methods. This turns out to pose some deep questions concerning the nature of mathematicalknowledge. In particular, it is argued that a satisfactory epistemology for mathematical practice must address the role of luck. (shrink)
This book is an attempt "to give a systematic account of the development of plato's theory of knowledge" (page vii). thus it focuses on the dialogues in which epistemological issues come to the fore. these dialogues are "meno", "phaedo", "symposium", "republic", "cratylus", "theastetus", "phaedrus", "timaeus", "sophist", "politicus", "philebus", and "laws". issues discusssed include the theory of recollection, perception, the difference between belief and knowledge, and mathematicalknowledge. (staff).
According to Quine, Charles Parsons, Mark Steiner, and others, Russell's logicist project is important because, if successful, it would show that mathematical theorems possess desirable epistemic properties often attributed to logical theorems, such as a prioricity, necessity, and certainty. Unfortunately, Russell never attributed such importance to logicism, and such a thesis contradicts Russell's explicitly stated views on the relationship between logic and mathematics. This raises the question: what did Russell understand to be the philosophical importance of logicism? Building on (...) recent work by Andrew Irvine and Martin Godwyn, I argue that Russell thought a systematic reduction of mathematics increases the certainty of known mathematical theorems (even basic arithmetical facts) by showing mathematicalknowledge to be coherently organized. The paper outlines Russell's theory of coherence, and discusses its relevance to logicism and the certainty attributed to mathematics. -/- . (shrink)
The paper aims to establish if Grassmann’s notion of an extensive form involved an epistemological change in the understanding of geometry and of mathematicalknowledge. Firstly, it will examine if an ontological shift in geometry is determined by the vectorial representation of extended magnitudes. Giving up homogeneity, and considering geometry as an application of extension theory, Grassmann developed a different notion of a geometrical object, based on abstract constraints concerning the construction of forms rather than on the homogeneity (...) conditions required by the modern version of the theory of proportions. Secondly, Grassmann’s conception of mathematicalknowledge will be investigated. Parting from the traditional definition of mathematics as a science of magnitudes, Grassmann considered mathematical forms as particulars rather than universals: the classification of the branches of mathematics was thus based on different operational rules, rather than on empirical criteria of abstraction or on the distinction of different species belonging to a common genus. It will be argued that a different notion of generalization is thus involved, and that the knowledge of mathematical forms relies on the understanding of the rules of generation of the forms themselves. Finally, the paper will analyse if Grassmann’s approach in the first edition of the Ausdehnungslehre should be explained in terms of the notion of purity of method, and if it clashes with Grassmann’s later conventionalism. Although in the second edition the features of the operations are chosen by convention, as it is the case for the anti-commutative property of the multiplication, the choice is oriented by our understanding of the resulting forms: a simplification in the algebraic calculus need not correspond to a simplification in the ‘dimensional’ interpretation of the result of the multiplicative operation. (shrink)
In Pantsar (2014), an outline for an empirically feasible epistemological theory of arithmetic is presented. According to that theory, arithmetical knowledge is based on biological primitives but in the resulting empirical context develops an essentially a priori character. Such contextual a priori theory of arithmetical knowledge can explain two of the three characteristics that are usually associated with mathematicalknowledge: that it appears to be a priori and objective. In this paper it is argued that it (...) can also explain the ... (shrink)
In "Mathematical Truth", Paul Benacerraf articulated an epistemological problem for mathematical realism. His formulation of the problem relied on a causal theory of knowledge which is now widely rejected. But it is generally agreed that Benacerraf was onto a genuine problem for mathematical realism nevertheless. Hartry Field describes it as the problem of explaining the reliability of our mathematical beliefs, realistically construed. In this paper, I argue that the Benacerraf Problem cannot be made out. There (...) simply is no intelligible problem that satisfies all of the constraints which have been placed on the Benacerraf Problem. The point generalizes to all arguments with the structure of the Benacerraf Problem aimed at realism about a domain meeting certain conditions. Such arguments include so-called "Evolutionary Debunking Arguments" aimed at moral realism. I conclude with some suggestions about the relationship between the Benacerraf Problem and the Gettier Problem. (shrink)
The formal sciences - mathematical as opposed to natural sciences, such as operations research, statistics, theoretical computer science, systems engineering - appear to have achieved mathematically provable knowledge directly about the real world. It is argued that this appearance is correct.
Categorical foundations and set-theoretical foundations are sometimes presented as alternative foundational schemes. So far, the literature has mostly focused on the weaknesses of the categorical foundations. We want here to concentrate on what we take to be one of its strengths: the explicit identification of so-called canonical maps and their role in mathematics. Canonical maps play a central role in contemporary mathematics and although some are easily defined by set-theoretical tools, they all appear systematically in a categorical framework. The key (...) element here is the systematic nature of these maps in a categorical framework and I suggest that, from that point of view, one can see an architectonic of mathematics emerging clearly. Moreover, they force us to reconsider the nature of mathematicalknowledge itself. Thus, to understand certain fundamental aspects of mathematics, category theory is necessary (at least, in the present state of mathematics). (shrink)
SEMANTIC ARITHMETIC: A PREFACE John Corcoran Abstract Number theory, or pure arithmetic, concerns the natural numbers themselves, not the notation used, and in particular not the numerals. String theory, or pure syntax, concems the numerals as strings of «uninterpreted» characters without regard to the numbe~s they may be used to denote. Number theory is purely arithmetic; string theory is purely syntactical... in so far as the universe of discourse alone is considered. Semantic arithmetic is a broad subject which begins when (...) numerals are mentioned (not just used) and mentioned as names of numbers (not just as syntactic objects). Semantic arithmetic leads to many fascinating and surprising algorithms and decision procedures; it reveals in a vivid way the experiential import of mathematical propositions and the predictive power of mathematicalknowledge; it provides an interesting perspective for philosophical, historical, and pedagogical studies of the growth of scientific knowledge and of the role metalinguistic discourse in scientific thought. (shrink)
In his book Intuitionism, David Kaspar is after the truth. That is to say, on his view, “philosophy is the search for the whole truth” (p. 7). Intuitionism, then, “reflects that standpoint” (p. 7). My comments are meant to reflect the same standpoint. More explicitly, my aim in these comments is to evaluate the arguments for intuitionism, as I understand them from reading Kaspar’s book. In what follows, I focus on three arguments in particular, which can be found in Chapters (...) 1, 2, and 3 of Intuitionism: an inference to the best explanation, an argument from the analogy between mathematicalknowledge and moral knowledge, and an argument from the epistemic preferability of the intuitive principles. I will discuss them in this order. (shrink)
Cognition involves physical stimulation, neural coding, mental conception, and conscious perception. Beyond the neural coding of physical stimuli, it is not clear how exactly these component processes constitute cognition. Within mathematical sciences, category theory provides tools such as category, functor, and adjointness, which are indispensable in the explication of the mathematical calculations involved in acquiring mathematicalknowledge. More speci cally, functorial semantics, in showing that theories and models can be construed as categories and functors, respectively, and (...) in establishing the adjointness between abstraction (of theories) and interpretation (to obtain models), mathematically accounts for knowing-within-mathematics. Here we show that mathematical knowing recapitulates--in an elementary form--ordinary cognition. The process of going from particulars (physical stimuli) to their concrete models (conscious percepts) via abstract theories (mental concepts) and measured properties (neural coding) is common to both mathematical knowing and ordinary cognition. Our investigation of the similarity between knowing-within-mathematics and knowing-in-general leads us to make a case for the development of the basic science of cognition in terms of the functorial semantics of mathematical knowing. (shrink)
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