Naturalism Reconsidered

Alan Weir

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780195148770
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835560 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Naturalism Reconsidered

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Mathematics poses a difficult problem for methodological naturalists, those who embrace scientific method, and also for ontological naturalists who eschew non-physical entities such as Cartesian souls. Mathematics seems both essential to science but also committed to abstract non-physical entities while methodologically it seems to have no place for experiment or empirical confirmation. The chapter critically reviews a number of responses naturalists have made including logicism, Quinean radical empiricism, and Penelope Maddy’s variant thereof and suggests some further problems both for ontological and for methodological naturalists.

Keywords: mathematics; naturalism; abstract objects; logicism; Quine; empiricism; Maddy

Chapter.  10572 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

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