Chapter

Perception and Intuition

Penelope Maddy

in Realism in Mathematics

Published in print September 1992 | ISBN: 9780198240358
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597978 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019824035X.003.0002

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

 Perception and Intuition

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Begins with a presentation and elaboration of Benacerraf's epistemic challenge to realism: how can we gain knowledge of an acausal world of non‐spatio‐temporal abstracts? I then outline a theory of perception based in part on neurological theories of Hebb and developmental evidence from Piaget, and I argue in these terms that we can, in fact, perceive sets of medium‐sized physical objects. This account of perception is elaborated into an account of physical and mathematical intuition, faculties that produce various rudimentary beliefs that underlie the simplest physical and set theoretic assumptions (e.g. that physical objects generally look different from different points of view, or that any two objects can be collected into a set). I conclude by comparing and contrasting this epistemology with some controversial passages from Gödel's writings.

Keywords: Benacerraf; Gödel; Hebb; intuition; mathematical epistemology; perception; Piaget

Chapter.  19742 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

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