Naturalism in Mathematics

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Overview

Naturalism in Mathematics investigates how the most fundamental assumptions of mathematics can be justified. One prevalent philosophical approach to the problem—realism—is examined and rejected in favor of another approach—naturalism. Penelope Maddy defines this naturalism, explains the motivation for it, and shows how it can be successfully applied in set theory. Her clear, original treatment of this fundamental issue is informed by current work in both philosophy and mathematics, and will be accessible and enlightening to readers from both disciplines.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Maddy's knowledge of early and contemporary set theory, and of philosophically significant parts of the history of mathematics generally, is impressively wide and deep, and her discussions of these matters are illuminating and rewarding. She writes in a clear, forthright and challenging style. Her book is eminently readable, instructive, and thought-provoking."—The Journal of Symbolic Logic
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198235736
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 2/26/1998
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Penelope Maddy is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine, having previously held positions at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.

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Table of Contents

PART I: THE PROBLEM
1. The origins of set theory
2. Set theory as a foundation
3. The standard axioms
4. Independent questions
5. New axiom candidates
6. V = L
PART II: REALISM
1. Godelian realism
2. Quinean realism
3. Set-theoretic realism
4. A realist's case against V = L
5. Hints of trouble
6. Indispensability and scientific practice
7. Indispensability and mathematical practic
PART III: NATURALISM
1. Wittgensteinian anti-philosophy
2. A second Godelian theme
3. Quinean naturalism
4. Mathematical naturalism
5. The problem revisited
6. A naturalist's case against V = L
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index

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