Drawing mainly from the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and his middle period writings, strategic issues and problems arising from Wittgenstein’s philosophy of mathematics are discussed. Topics have been so chosen as to assist mediation between the perspective of philosophers and that of mathematicians on their developing discipline. There is consideration of rules within arithmetic and geometry and Wittgenstein’s distinctive approach to number systems whether elementary or transfinite. Examples are presented to illuminate the relation between the meaning of an arithmetical generalisation (...) or theorem and its proof. An attempt is made to meet directly some of Wittgenstein’s critical comments on the mathematical treatment of infinity and irrational numbers. (shrink)
This essay offers a strategic reinterpretation of Kant’s philosophy of mathematics in Critique of Pure Reason via a broad, empirically based reconception of Kant’s conception of drawing. It begins with a general overview of Kant’s philosophy of mathematics, observing how he differentiates mathematics in the Critique from both the dynamical and the philosophical. Second, it examines how a recent wave of critical analyses of Kant’s constructivism takes up these issues, largely inspired by Hintikka’s unorthodox conception (...) of Kantian intuition. Third, it offers further analyses of three Kantian concepts vitally linked to that of drawing. It concludes with an etymologically based exploration of the seven clusters of meanings of the word drawing to gesture toward new possibilities for interpreting a Kantian philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
I claim that a relatively new position in philosophy of mathematics, pluralism, overlaps in striking ways with the much older Jain doctrine of anekantavada and the associated doctrines of nyayavada and syadvada. I first outline the pluralist position, following this with a sketch of the Jain doctrine of anekantavada. I then note the srrong points of overlaps and the morals of this comparison of pluralism and anekantavada.
Abstract In the new millennium there have been important empirical developments in the philosophy of mathematics. One of these is the so-called “Empirical Philosophy of Mathematics”(EPM) of Buldt, Löwe, Müller and Müller-Hill, which aims to complement the methodology of the philosophy of mathematics with empirical work. Among other things, this includes surveys of mathematicians, which EPM believes to give philosophically important results. In this paper I take a critical look at the sociological part of (...) EPM as a case study of ... (shrink)
We attribute three major insights to Hegel: first, an understanding of the real numbers as the paradigmatic kind of number ; second, a recognition that a quantitative relation has three elements, which is embedded in his conception of measure; and third, a recognition of the phenomenon of divergence of measures such as in second-order or continuous phase transitions in which correlation length diverges. For ease of exposition, we will refer to these three insights as the R First Theory, Tripartite Relations, (...) and Divergence of Measures. Given the constraints of space, we emphasize the first and the third in this paper. (shrink)
This chapter argues that the standard conception of Spinoza as a fellow-travelling mechanical philosopher and proto-scientific naturalist is misleading. It argues, first, that Spinoza’s account of the proper method for the study of nature presented in the Theological-Political Treatise (TTP) points away from the one commonly associated with the mechanical philosophy. Moreover, throughout his works Spinoza’s views on the very possibility of knowledge of nature are decidedly sceptical (as specified below). Third, in the seventeenth-century debates over proper methods in (...) the sciences, Spinoza sided with those that criticized the aspirations of those (the physico-mathematicians, Galileo, Huygens, Wallis, Wren, etc) who thought the application of mathematics to nature was the way to make progress. In particular, he offers grounds for doubting their confidence in the significance of measurement as well as their piece-meal methodology (see section 2). Along the way, this chapter offers a new interpretation of common notions in the context of treating Spinoza’s account of motion (see section 3). (shrink)
Imre Lakatos' views on the philosophy of mathematics are important and they have often been underappreciated. The most obvious lacuna in this respect is the lack of detailed discussion and analysis of his 1976a paper and its implications for the methodology of mathematics, particularly its implications with respect to argumentation and the matter of how truths are established in mathematics. The most important themes that run through his work on the philosophy of mathematics and (...) which culminate in the 1976a paper are (1) the (quasi-)empirical character of mathematics and (2) the rejection of axiomatic deductivism as the basis of mathematical knowledge. In this paper Lakatos' later views on the quasi-empirical nature of mathematical theories and methodology are examined and specific attention is paid to what this view implies about the nature of mathematical argumentation and its relation to the empirical sciences. (shrink)
The formalist philosophy of mathematics (in its purest, most extreme version) is widely regarded as a “discredited position”. This pure and extreme version of formalism is called by some authors “game formalism”, because it is alleged to represent mathematics as a meaningless game with strings of symbols. Nevertheless, I would like to draw attention to some arguments in favour of game formalism as an appropriate philosophy of real mathematics. For the most part, these arguments have (...) not yet been used or were neglected in past discussions. (shrink)
Walter Dubislav (1895–1937) was a leading member of the Berlin Group for scientific philosophy. This “sister group” of the more famous Vienna Circle emerged around Hans Reichenbach’s seminars at the University of Berlin in 1927 and 1928. Dubislav was to collaborate with Reichenbach, an association that eventuated in their conjointly conducting university colloquia. Dubislav produced original work in philosophy of mathematics, logic, and science, consequently following David Hilbert’s axiomatic method. This brought him to defend formalism in these (...) disciplines as well as to explore the problems of substantiating (Begründung) human knowledge. Dubislav also developed elements of general philosophy of science. Sadly, the political changes in Germany in 1933 proved ruinous to Dubislav. He published scarcely anything after Hitler came to power and in 1937 committed suicide under tragic circumstances. The intent here is to pass in review Dubislav’s philosophy of logic, mathematics, and science and so to shed light on some seminal yet hitherto largely neglected currents in the history of philosophy of science. (shrink)
In this paper, I present and discuss critically the main elements of Mario Bunge’s philosophy of mathematics. In particular, I explore how mathematical knowledge is accounted for in Bunge’s systemic emergent materialism.To Mario, with gratitude.
Book Review for Reading Natural Philosophy: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science and Mathematics, La Salle, IL: Open Court, 2002. Edited by David Malament. This volume includes thirteen original essays by Howard Stein, spanning a range of topics that Stein has written about with characteristic passion and insight. This review focuses on the essays devoted to history and philosophy of physics.
Modern philosophy of mathematics has been dominated by Platonism and nominalism, to the neglect of the Aristotelian realist option. Aristotelianism holds that mathematics studies certain real properties of the world – mathematics is neither about a disembodied world of “abstract objects”, as Platonism holds, nor it is merely a language of science, as nominalism holds. Aristotle’s theory that mathematics is the “science of quantity” is a good account of at least elementary mathematics: the ratio (...) of two heights, for example, is a perceivable and measurable real relation between properties of physical things, a relation that can be shared by the ratio of two weights or two time intervals. Ratios are an example of continuous quantity; discrete quantities, such as whole numbers, are also realised as relations between a heap and a unit-making universal. For example, the relation between foliage and being-a-leaf is the number of leaves on a tree,a relation that may equal the relation between a heap of shoes and being-a-shoe. Modern higher mathematics, however, deals with some real properties that are not naturally seen as quantity, so that the “science of quantity” theory of mathematics needs supplementation. Symmetry, topology and similar structural properties are studied by mathematics, but are about pattern, structure or arrangement rather than quantity. (shrink)
Throughout his work, John Dewey seeks to emancipate philosophical reflection from the influence of the classical tradition he traces back to Plato and Aristotle. For Dewey, this tradition rests upon a conception of knowledge based on the separation between theory and practice, which is incompatible with the structure of scientific inquiry. Philosophical work can make progress only if it is freed from its traditional heritage, i.e. only if it undergoes reconstruction. In this study I show that implicit appeals to the (...) classical tradition shape prominent debates in philosophy of mathematics, and I initiate a project of reconstruction within this field. (shrink)
Nietzsche has a surprisingly significant and strikingly positive assessment of mathematics. I discuss Nietzsche's theory of the origin of mathematical practice in the division of the continuum of force, his theory of numbers, his conception of the finite and the infinite, and the relations between Nietzschean mathematics and formalism and intuitionism. I talk about the relations between math, illusion, life, and the will to truth. I distinguish life and world affirming mathematical practice from its ascetic perversion. For Nietzsche, (...) math is an artistic and moral activity that has an essential role to play in the joyful wisdom. (shrink)
When mathematicians think of the philosophy of mathematics, they probably think of endless debates about what numbers are and whether they exist. Since plenty of mathematical progress continues to be made without taking a stance on either of these questions, mathematicians feel confident they can work without much regard for philosophical reflections. In his sharp–toned, sprawling book, David Corfield acknowledges the irrelevance of much contemporary philosophy of mathematics to current mathematical practice, and proposes reforming the subject (...) accordingly. (shrink)
Since antiquity well into the beginnings of the 20th century geometry was a central topic for philosophy. Since then, however, most philosophers of science, if they took notice of topology at all, considered it as an abstruse subdiscipline of mathematics lacking philosophical interest. Here it is argued that this neglect of topology by philosophy may be conceived of as the sign of a conceptual sea-change in philosophy of science that expelled geometry, and, more generally, mathematics, (...) from the central position it used to have in philosophy of science and placed logic at center stage in the 20th century philosophy of science. Only in recent decades logic has begun to loose its monopoly and geometry and topology received a new chance to find a place in philosophy of science. (shrink)
Scholars have long been interested in the relation between Leibniz, the metaphysician-theologian, and Leibniz, the logician-mathematician. In this collection, we consider the important roles that rhetoric and the "art of thinking" have played in the development of mathematical ideas. By placing Leibniz in this rhetorical tradition, the present essay shows the extent to which he was a rhetorical thinker, and thereby answers the question about the relation between his work as a logician-mathematician and his other work. It becomes clear that (...)mathematics and logic are a part of his rhetorical methodology, because they constitute one set of tools that he used to excavate the truth. Mathematical and logical insights are thus all part of his "art of thinking," employed in the service of philosophy. (shrink)
The discrete–structural structure of the world is described. In comparison with the idea of Heraclitus about an indissoluble world, preference is given to the discrete world of Democritus. It is noted that if the discrete atoms of Democritus were simple and indivisible, the atoms of the modern world indicated in the article would possess, rather, a structural structure. The article proves the problem of how the mutual connection of mathematics and philosophy influences cognition, which creates a discrete–structural worldview. (...) The author notes that the appearance of writing, symbolic language and the depiction of the picture of the world through mathematics, led us into the sphere of discrete mathematical mathematics. (shrink)
In this review, as well as discussing the pedagogical of this text book, I also discuss Linnebo's approach to the Caesar problem and the use of metaphysical notions to explicate mathematics.
Putnam, Hilary FPhilosophy of logic. Harper Essays in Philosophy. Harper Torchbooks, No. TB 1544. Harper & Row, Publishers, New York-London, 1971. v+76 pp. The author of this book has made highly regarded contributions to mathematics, to philosophy of logic and to philosophy of science, and in this book he brings his ideas in these three areas to bear on the traditional philosophic problem of materialism versus (objective) idealism. The book assumes that contemporary science (mathematical and physical) (...) is largely correct as far as it goes, or at least that it is rational to believe in it. The main thesis of the book is that consistent acceptance of contemporary science requires the acceptance of some sort of Platonistic idealism affirming the existence of abstract, non-temporal, non-material, non-mental entities (numbers,scientific laws, mathematical formulas, etc.). The author is thus in direct opposition to the extreme materialism which had dominated philosophy of science in the first three quarters of this century. the book can be especially recommended to the scientifically literate, general reader whose acquaintance with these areas is limited to the earlier literature of when it had been assumed that empiricistic materialism was the only philosophy compatible with a scientific outlook. To this group the book presents an eye-opening challenge fulfilling the author’s intention of “shaking up preconceptions and stimulating further discussion”. (shrink)
Quentin Meillassoux is one of the leading French philosophers of today. His first book, Après la finitude : Essai sur la nécessité de la contingence, (2006, translated into English in 2008), has already become a cult classic. It features a préface by his former mentor, Alain Badiou. One of Meillassoux’s main goals is to rehabilitate the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, typical of pre-Kantian philosophies. Specifically, he claims that mathematics is capable of disclosing the primary qualities of any (...) object : “all those aspects of the object that can be formulated in mathematical terms can be meaningfully conceived as properties of the object in itself”. Here we will use Bunge’s philosophy of mathematics in order to challenge the preceding assumption. (shrink)
In this multi-disciplinary investigation we show how an evidence-based perspective of quantification---in terms of algorithmic verifiability and algorithmic computability---admits evidence-based definitions of well-definedness and effective computability, which yield two unarguably constructive interpretations of the first-order Peano Arithmetic PA---over the structure N of the natural numbers---that are complementary, not contradictory. The first yields the weak, standard, interpretation of PA over N, which is well-defined with respect to assignments of algorithmically verifiable Tarskian truth values to the formulas of PA under the interpretation. (...) The second yields a strong, finitary, interpretation of PA over N, which is well-defined with respect to assignments of algorithmically computable Tarskian truth values to the formulas of PA under the interpretation. We situate our investigation within a broad analysis of quantification vis a vis: * Hilbert's epsilon-calculus * Goedel's omega-consistency * The Law of the Excluded Middle * Hilbert's omega-Rule * An Algorithmic omega-Rule * Gentzen's Rule of Infinite Induction * Rosser's Rule C * Markov's Principle * The Church-Turing Thesis * Aristotle's particularisation * Wittgenstein's perspective of constructive mathematics * An evidence-based perspective of quantification. By showing how these are formally inter-related, we highlight the fragility of both the persisting, theistic, classical/Platonic interpretation of quantification grounded in Hilbert's epsilon-calculus; and the persisting, atheistic, constructive/Intuitionistic interpretation of quantification rooted in Brouwer's belief that the Law of the Excluded Middle is non-finitary. We then consider some consequences for mathematics, mathematics education, philosophy, and the natural sciences, of an agnostic, evidence-based, finitary interpretation of quantification that challenges classical paradigms in all these disciplines. (shrink)
We propose a way to explain the diversification of branches of mathematics, distinguishing the different approaches by which mathematical objects can be studied. In our philosophy of mathematics, there is a base object, which is the abstract multiplicity that comes from our empirical experience. However, due to our human condition, the analysis of such multiplicity is covered by other empirical cognitive attitudes (approaches), diversifying the ways in which it can be conceived, and consequently giving rise to different (...) mathematical disciplines. This diversity of approaches is founded on the manifold categories that we find in physical reality. We also propose, grounded on this idea, the use of Aristotelian categories as a first model for this division, generating from it a classification of mathematical branches. Finally we make a history review to show that there is consistency between our classification, and the historical appearance of the different branches of mathematics. (shrink)
In a recent article, Christopher Ormell argues against the traditional mathematical view that the real numbers form an uncountably inﬁnite set. He rejects the conclusion of Cantor’s diagonal argument for the higher, non-denumerable inﬁnity of the real numbers. He does so on the basis that the classical conception of a real number is mys- terious, ineffable, and epistemically suspect. Instead, he urges that mathematics should admit only ‘well-deﬁned’ real numbers as proper objects of study. In practice, this means excluding (...) as inadmissible all those real numbers whose decimal expansions cannot be calculated in as much detail as one would like by some rule. We argue against Ormell that the classical realist account of the continuum has explanatory power in mathematics and should be accepted, much in the same way that "dark matter" is posited by physicists to explain observations in cosmology. In effect, the indefinable real numbers are like the "dark matter" of real analysis. (shrink)
I argue for the Wittgensteinian thesis that mathematical statements are expressions of norms, rather than descriptions of the world. An expression of a norm is a statement like a promise or a New Year's resolution, which says that someone is committed or entitled to a certain line of action. A expression of a norm is not a mere description of a regularity of human behavior, nor is it merely a descriptive statement which happens to entail a norms. The view can (...) be thought of as a sort of logicism for the logical expressivist---a person who believes that the purpose of logical language is to make explicit commitments and entitlements that are implicit in ordinary practice. The thesis that mathematical statements are expression of norms is a kind of logicism, not because it says that mathematics can be reduced to logic, but because it says that mathematical statements play the same role as logical statements. ;I contrast my position with two sets of views, an empiricist view, which says that mathematical knowledge is acquired and justified through experience, and a cluster of nativist and apriorist views, which say that mathematical knowledge is either hardwired into the human brain, or justified a priori, or both. To develop the empiricist view, I look at the work of Kitcher and Mill, arguing that although their ideas can withstand the criticisms brought against empiricism by Frege and others, they cannot reply to a version of the critique brought by Wittgenstein in the Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics. To develop the nativist and apriorist views, I look at the work of contemporary developmental psychologists, like Gelman and Gallistel and Karen Wynn, as well as the work of philosophers who advocate the existence of a mathematical intuition, such as Kant, Husserl, and Parsons. After clarifying the definitions of "innate" and "a priori," I argue that the mechanisms proposed by the nativists cannot bring knowledge, and the existence of the mechanisms proposed by the apriorists is not supported by the arguments they give. (shrink)
It is often said that ‘every logical truth is obvious’ (Quine 1970: 82), that the ‘axioms and rules of logic are true in an obvious way’ (Murawski 2014: 87), or that ‘logic is a theory of the obvious’ (Sher 1999: 207). In this chapter, I set out to test empirically how the idea that logic is obvious is reflected in the scholarly work of logicians and philosophers of logic. My approach is data-driven. That is to say, I propose that systematically (...) searching for patterns of usage in databases of scholarly works, such as JSTOR, can provide new insights into the ways in which the idea that logic is obvious is reflected in logical and philosophical practice, i.e., in the arguments that logicians and philosophers of logic actually make in their published work. (shrink)
CORCORAN RECOMMENDS COCCHIARELLA ON TYPE THEORY. The 1983 review in Mathematical Reviews 83e:03005 of: Cocchiarella, Nino “The development of the theory of logical types and the notion of a logical subject in Russell's early philosophy: Bertrand Russell's early philosophy, Part I”. Synthese 45 (1980), no. 1, 71-115 .
Introduction to the Special Volume, “Method, Science and Mathematics: Neo-Kantianism and Analytic Philosophy,” edited by Scott Edgar and Lydia Patton. At its core, analytic philosophy concerns urgent questions about philosophy’s relation to the formal and empirical sciences, questions about philosophy’s relation to psychology and the social sciences, and ultimately questions about philosophy’s place in a broader cultural landscape. This picture of analytic philosophy shapes this collection’s focus on the history of the philosophy (...) of mathematics, physics, and psychology. The following essays uncover, reflect on, and exemplify modes of philosophy that are engaged with these allied disciplines. They make the case that, to the extent that analytic philosophers are still concerned with philosophy’s ties to these disciplines, we would do well to pay attention to neo-Kantian views on those ties. (shrink)
The investigation into logical form and structure of natural sciences and mathematics covers a significant part of contemporary philosophy. In contrast to this, the metatheory of normative theories is a slowly developing research area in spite of its great predecessors, such as Aristotle, who discovered the sui generis character of practical logic, or Hume, who posed the “is-ought” problem. The intrinsic reason for this situation lies in the complex nature of practical logic. The metatheory of normative educational (...) class='Hi'>philosophy and theory inherits all the difficulties inherent in the general metatheory but has also significantly contributed to its advancement. In particular, the discussion on its mixed normative-descriptive character and complex composition has remained an important part of research in educational philosophy and theory. The two points seem to be indisputable. First, the content of educational philosophy and theory is a complex one, connecting different disciplines. Second, these disciplines are integrated within the logical form of practical inference or means-end reasoning. On the other hand, the character of consequence relation in this field, although generally recognized as specific, represents an unresolved prob- lem, a solution of which requires a sophisticated logical theory and promises to influence the self- understanding of educational philosophy and theory. (shrink)
I offer an alternative account of the relationship of Hobbesian geometry to natural philosophy by arguing that mixed mathematics provided Hobbes with a model for thinking about it. In mixed mathematics, one may borrow causal principles from one science and use them in another science without there being a deductive relationship between those two sciences. Natural philosophy for Hobbes is mixed because an explanation may combine observations from experience (the ‘that’) with causal principles from geometry (the (...) ‘why’). My argument shows that Hobbesian natural philosophy relies upon suppositions that bodies plausibly behave according to these borrowed causal principles from geometry, acknowledging that bodies in the world may not actually behave this way. First, I consider Hobbes's relation to Aristotelian mixed mathematics and to Isaac Barrow's broadening of mixed mathematics in Mathematical Lectures (1683). I show that for Hobbes maker's knowledge from geometry provides the ‘why’ in mixed-mathematical explanations. Next, I examine two explanations from De corpore Part IV: (1) the explanation of sense in De corpore 25.1-2; and (2) the explanation of the swelling of parts of the body when they become warm in De corpore 27.3. In both explanations, I show Hobbes borrowing and citing geometrical principles and mixing these principles with appeals to experience. (shrink)
Since 2004, it has been mandated by law that all Danish undergraduate university programmes have to include a compulsory course on the philosophy of science for that particular program. At the Faculty of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, the responsibility for designing and running such courses were given to the Centre for Science Studies, where a series of courses were developed aiming at the various bachelor educations of the Faculty. Since 2005, the Centre has been running a dozen different (...) courses ranging from mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry over medical chemistry, biology, molecular biology to sports science, geology, molecular medicine, nano science, and engineering. -/- We have adopted a teaching philosophy of using historical and contemporary case studies to anchor broader philosophical discussions in the particular subject discipline under consideration. Thus, the courses are tailored to the interests of the students of the particular programme whilst aiming for broader and important philosophical themes as well as addressing the specific mandated requirements to integrate philosophy, some introductory ethics, and some institutional history. These are multiple and diverse purposes which cannot be met except by compromise. -/- In this short presentation, we discuss our ambitions for using case studies to discuss philosophical issues and the relation between the specific philosophical discussions in the disciplines and the broader themes of philosophy of science. We give examples of the cases chosen to discuss various issues of scientific knowledge, the role of experiments, the relations between mathematics and science, and the issues of responsibility and trust in scientific results. Finally, we address the issue of how and why science students can be interested in and benefit from mandatory courses in the philosophy of their subject. (shrink)
According to Steiner (1998), in contemporary physics new important discoveries are often obtained by means of strategies which rely on purely formal mathematical considerations. In such discoveries, mathematics seems to have a peculiar and controversial role, which apparently cannot be accounted for by means of standard methodological criteria. M. Gell-Mann and Y. Ne׳eman׳s prediction of the Ω− particle is usually considered a typical example of application of this kind of strategy. According to Bangu (2008), this prediction is apparently based (...) on the employment of a highly controversial principle—what he calls the “reification principle”. Bangu himself takes this principle to be methodologically unjustifiable, but still indispensable to make the prediction logically sound. In the present paper I will offer a new reconstruction of the reasoning that led to this prediction. By means of this reconstruction, I will show that we do not need to postulate any “reificatory” role of mathematics in contemporary physics and I will contextually clarify the representative and heuristic role of mathematics in science. (shrink)
Review of Dowek, Gilles, Computation, Proof, Machine, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2015. Translation of Les Métamorphoses du calcul, Le Pommier, Paris, 2007. Translation from the French by Pierre Guillot and Marion Roman.
Reid, Constance. Hilbert (a Biography). Reviewed by Corcoran in Philosophy of Science 39 (1972), 106–08. -/- Constance Reid was an insider of the Berkeley-Stanford logic circle. Her San Francisco home was in Ashbury Heights near the homes of logicians such as Dana Scott and John Corcoran. Her sister Julia Robinson was one of the top mathematical logicians of her generation, as was Julia’s husband Raphael Robinson for whom Robinson Arithmetic was named. Julia was a Tarski PhD and, in recognition (...) of a distinguished career, was elected President of the American Mathematics Society. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Robinson http://www.awm-math.org/noetherbrochure/Robinson82.html. (shrink)
We seek to elucidate the philosophical context in which one of the most important conceptual transformations of modern mathematics took place, namely the so-called revolution in rigor in infinitesimal calculus and mathematical analysis. Some of the protagonists of the said revolution were Cauchy, Cantor, Dedekind,and Weierstrass. The dominant current of philosophy in Germany at the time was neo-Kantianism. Among its various currents, the Marburg school (Cohen, Natorp, Cassirer, and others) was the one most interested in matters scientific and (...) mathematical. Our main thesis is that Marburg neo-Kantian philosophy formulated a sophisticated position towards the problems raised by the concepts of limits and infinitesimals. The Marburg school neither clung to the traditional approach of logically and metaphysically dubious infinitesimals, nor whiggishly subscribed to the new orthodoxy of the “great triumvirate” of Cantor, Dedekind, and Weierstrass that declared infinitesimals conceptus nongrati in mathematical discourse. Rather, following Cohen’s lead, the Marburg philosophers sought to clarify Leibniz’s principle of continuity, and to exploit it in making sense of infinitesimals and related concepts. (shrink)
In the early 1900s, Russell began to recognize that he, and many other mathematicians, had been using assertions like the Axiom of Choice implicitly, and without explicitly proving them. In working with the Axioms of Choice, Infinity, and Reducibility, and his and Whitehead’s Multiplicative Axiom, Russell came to take the position that some axioms are necessary to recovering certain results of mathematics, but may not be proven to be true absolutely. The essay traces historical roots of, and motivations for, (...) Russell’s method of analysis, which are intended to shed light on his view about the status of mathematical axioms. I describe the position Russell develops in consequence as “immanent logicism,” in contrast to what Irving (1989) describes as “epistemic logicism.” Immanent logicism allows Russell to avoid the logocentric predicament, and to propose a method for discovering structural relationships of dependence within mathematical theories. (shrink)
There has been little overt discussion of the experimental philosophy of logic or mathematics. So it may be tempting to assume that application of the methods of experimental philosophy to these areas is impractical or unavailing. This assumption is undercut by three trends in recent research: a renewed interest in historical antecedents of experimental philosophy in philosophical logic; a “practice turn” in the philosophies of mathematics and logic; and philosophical interest in a substantial body of (...) work in adjacent disciplines, such as the psychology of reasoning and mathematics education. This introduction offers a snapshot of each trend and addresses how they intersect with some of the standard criticisms of experimental philosophy. It also briefly summarizes the specific contribution of the other chapters of this book. (shrink)
In 1901 Russell had envisaged the new analytic philosophy as uniquely systematic, borrowing the methods of science and mathematics. A century later, have Russell’s hopes become reality? David Lewis is often celebrated as a great systematic metaphysician, his influence proof that we live in a heyday of systematic philosophy. But, we argue, this common belief is misguided: Lewis was not a systematic philosopher, and he didn’t want to be. Although some aspects of his philosophy are systematic, (...) mainly his pluriverse of possible worlds and its many applications, that systematicity was due to the influence of his teacher Quine, who really was an heir to Russell. Drawing upon Lewis’s posthumous papers and his correspondence as well as the published record, we show that Lewis’s non- Quinean influences, including G.E. Moore and D.M. Armstrong, led Lewis to an anti- systematic methodology which leaves each philosopher’s views and starting points to his or her own personal conscience. (shrink)
The article evaluates the Domain Postulate of the Classical Model of Science and the related Aristotelian prohibition rule on kind-crossing as interpretative tools in the history of the development of mathematics into a general science of quantities. Special reference is made to Proclus’ commentary to Euclid’s first book of Elements , to the sixteenth century translations of Euclid’s work into Latin and to the works of Stevin, Wallis, Viète and Descartes. The prohibition rule on kind-crossing formulated by Aristotle in (...) Posterior analytics is used to distinguish between conceptions that share the same name but are substantively different: for example the search for a broader genus including all mathematical objects; the search for a common character of different species of mathematical objects; and the effort to treat magnitudes as numbers. (shrink)
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