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Neil Barton
Universität Konstanz
  1. Forcing and the Universe of Sets: Must We Lose Insight?Neil Barton - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (4):575-612.
    A central area of current philosophical debate in the foundations of mathematics concerns whether or not there is a single, maximal, universe of set theory. Universists maintain that there is such a universe, while Multiversists argue that there are many universes, no one of which is ontologically privileged. Often forcing constructions that add subsets to models are cited as evidence in favour of the latter. This paper informs this debate by analysing ways the Universist might interpret this discourse that seems (...)
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  2.  54
    Absence Perception and the Philosophy of Zero.Neil Barton - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):3823-3850.
    Zero provides a challenge for philosophers of mathematics with realist inclinations. On the one hand it is a bona fide cardinal number, yet on the other it is linked to ideas of nothingness and non-being. This paper provides an analysis of the epistemology and metaphysics of zero. We develop several constraints and then argue that a satisfactory account of zero can be obtained by integrating an account of numbers as properties of collections, work on the philosophy of absences, and recent (...)
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  3. Mathematical Gettier Cases and Their Implications.Neil Barton - manuscript
    Let mathematical justification be the kind of justification obtained when a mathematician provides a proof of a theorem. Are Gettier cases possible for this kind of justification? At first sight we might think not: The standard for mathematical justification is proof and, since proof is bound at the hip with truth, there is no possibility of having an epistemically lucky justification of a true mathematical proposition. In this paper, I argue that Gettier cases are possible (and indeed actual) in mathematical (...)
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  4. Universism and Extensions of V.Carolin Antos, Neil Barton & Sy-David Friedman - forthcoming - Review of Symbolic Logic:1-50.
    A central area of current philosophical debate in the foundations of mathematics concerns whether or not there is a single, maximal, universe of set theory. Universists maintain that there is such a universe, while Multiversists argue that there are many universes, no one of which is ontologically privileged. Often model-theoretic constructions that add sets to models are cited as evidence in favour of the latter. This paper informs this debate by developing a way for a Universist to interpret talk that (...)
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  5. On Forms of Justification in Set Theory.Neil Barton, Claudio Ternullo & Giorgio Venturi - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Logic 17 (4):158-200.
    In the contemporary philosophy of set theory, discussion of new axioms that purport to resolve independence necessitates an explanation of how they come to be justified. Ordinarily, justification is divided into two broad kinds: intrinsic justification relates to how `intuitively plausible' an axiom is, whereas extrinsic justification supports an axiom by identifying certain `desirable' consequences. This paper puts pressure on how this distinction is formulated and construed. In particular, we argue that the distinction as often presented is neither well-demarcated nor (...)
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  6. Countabilism and Maximality Principles.Neil Barton & Sy-David Friedman - manuscript
    It is standard in set theory to assume that Cantor's Theorem establishes that the continuum is an uncountable set. A challenge for this position comes from the observation that through forcing one can collapse any cardinal to the countable and that the continuum can be made arbitrarily large. In this paper, we present a different take on the relationship between Cantor's Theorem and extensions of universes, arguing that they can be seen as showing that every set is countable and that (...)
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  7.  90
    Varieties of Class-Theoretic Potentialism.Neil Barton & Kameryn Williams - manuscript
    We explain and explore class-theoretic potentialism---the view that one can always individuate more classes over a set-theoretic universe. We examine some motivations for class-theoretic potentialism, before proving some results concerning the relevant potentialist systems (in particular exhibiting failures of the .2 and .3 axioms). We then discuss the significance of these results for the different kinds of class-theoretic potentialist.
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  8.  60
    Multiversism and Concepts of Set: How Much Relativism Is Acceptable?Neil Barton - 2016 - In Francesca Boccuni & Andrea Sereni (eds.), Objectivity, Realism, and Proof. Filmat Studies in the Philosophy of Mathematics. Springer Verlag. pp. 189-209.
    Multiverse Views in set theory advocate the claim that there are many universes of sets, no-one of which is canonical, and have risen to prominence over the last few years. One motivating factor is that such positions are often argued to account very elegantly for technical practice. While there is much discussion of the technical aspects of these views, in this paper I analyse a radical form of Multiversism on largely philosophical grounds. Of particular importance will be an account of (...)
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  9.  74
    Maximality and Ontology: How Axiom Content Varies Across Philosophical Frameworks.Sy-David Friedman & Neil Barton - 2017 - Synthese 197 (2):623-649.
    Discussion of new axioms for set theory has often focused on conceptions of maximality, and how these might relate to the iterative conception of set. This paper provides critical appraisal of how certain maximality axioms behave on different conceptions of ontology concerning the iterative conception. In particular, we argue that forms of multiversism and actualism face complementary problems. The latter view is unable to use maximality axioms that make use of extensions, where the former has to contend with the existence (...)
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  10. Are Large Cardinal Axioms Restrictive?Neil Barton - manuscript
    The independence phenomenon in set theory, while pervasive, can be partially addressed through the use of large cardinal axioms. A commonly assumed idea is that large cardinal axioms are species of maximality principles. In this paper, I argue that whether or not large cardinal axioms count as maximality principles depends on prior commitments concerning the richness of the subset forming operation. In particular I argue that there is a conception of maximality through absoluteness, on which large cardinal axioms are restrictive. (...)
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  11. Indeterminateness and `The' Universe of Sets: Multiversism, Potentialism, and Pluralism.Neil Barton - forthcoming - In Ali Sadegh Daghighi, Melvin Fitting, Dov Gabbay, Massoud Pourmahdian & Adrian Rezus (eds.), Research Trends in Contemporary Logic (Series: Landscapes in Logic). College Publications.
    In this article, I survey some philosophical attitudes to talk concerning `the' universe of sets. I separate out four different strands of the debate, namely: (i) Universism, (ii) Multiversism, (iii) Potentialism, and (iv) Pluralism. I discuss standard arguments and counterarguments concerning the positions and some of the natural mathematical programmes that are suggested by the various views.
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  12.  55
    Richness and Reflection.Neil Barton - 2016 - Philosophia Mathematica 24 (3):330-359.
    A pervasive thought in contemporary philosophy of mathematics is that in order to justify reflection principles, one must hold universism: the view that there is a single universe of pure sets. I challenge this kind of reasoning by contrasting universism with a Zermelian form of multiversism. I argue that if extant justifications of reflection principles using notions of richness are acceptable for the universist, then the Zermelian can use similar justifications. However, I note that for some forms of richness argument, (...)
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  13. On Representations of Intended Structures in Foundational Theories.Neil Barton, Moritz Müller & Mihai Prunescu - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-14.
    Often philosophers, logicians, and mathematicians employ a notion of intended structure when talking about a branch of mathematics. In addition, we know that there are foundational mathematical theories that can find representatives for the objects of informal mathematics. In this paper, we examine how faithfully foundational theories can represent intended structures, and show that this question is closely linked to the decidability of the theory of the intended structure. We argue that this sheds light on the trade-off between expressive power (...)
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  14. Structural Relativity and Informal Rigour.Neil Barton - forthcoming - In Objects, Structures, and Logics, FilMat Studies in the Philosophy of Mathematics.
    Informal rigour is the process by which we come to understand particular mathematical structures and then manifest this rigour through axiomatisations. Structural relativity is the idea that the kinds of structures we isolate are dependent upon the logic we employ. We bring together these ideas by considering the level of informal rigour exhibited by our set-theoretic discourse, and argue that different foundational programmes should countenance different underlying logics (intermediate between first- and second-order) for formulating set theory. By bringing considerations of (...)
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  15.  85
    Introduction to Special Issue on the Foundations of Mathematics.Carolin Antos, Neil Barton, Sy-David Friedman, Claudio Ternullo & John Wigglesworth - 2020 - Synthese 197.
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  16. Elaine Landry,* Ed. Categories for the Working Philosopher. [REVIEW]Neil Barton - 2020 - Philosophia Mathematica 28 (1):95-108.
    LandryElaine, * ed. Categories for the Working Philosopher. Oxford University Press, 2017. ISBN 978-0-19-874899-1 ; 978-0-19-106582-8. Pp. xiv + 471.
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  17.  60
    Inner-Model Reflection Principles.Neil Barton, Andrés Eduardo Caicedo, Gunter Fuchs, Joel David Hamkins, Jonas Reitz & Ralf Schindler - 2020 - Studia Logica 108 (3):573-595.
    We introduce and consider the inner-model reflection principle, which asserts that whenever a statement \varphi(a) in the first-order language of set theory is true in the set-theoretic universe V, then it is also true in a proper inner model W \subset A. A stronger principle, the ground-model reflection principle, asserts that any such \varphi(a) true in V is also true in some non-trivial ground model of the universe with respect to set forcing. These principles each express a form of width (...)
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  18.  66
    Set Theory and Structures.Neil Barton & Sy-David Friedman - 2019 - In Deniz Sarikaya, Deborah Kant & Stefania Centrone (eds.), Reflections on the Foundations of Mathematics. Springer Verlag. pp. 223-253.
    Set-theoretic and category-theoretic foundations represent different perspectives on mathematical subject matter. In particular, category-theoretic language focusses on properties that can be determined up to isomorphism within a category, whereas set theory admits of properties determined by the internal structure of the membership relation. Various objections have been raised against this aspect of set theory in the category-theoretic literature. In this article, we advocate a methodological pluralism concerning the two foundational languages, and provide a theory that fruitfully interrelates a `structural' perspective (...)
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  19.  63
    Independence and Ignorance: How Agnotology Informs Set-Theoretic Pluralism.Neil Barton - 2017 - Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 34 (2):399-413.
    Much of the discussion of set-theoretic independence, and whether or not we could legitimately expand our foundational theory, concerns how we could possibly come to know the truth value of independent sentences. This paper pursues a slightly different tack, examining how we are ignorant of issues surrounding their truth. We argue that a study of how we are ignorant reveals a need for an understanding of set-theoretic explanation and motivates a pluralism concerning the adoption of foundational theory.
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