Chapter

The Case for Mathematical Realism

Michael D. Resnik

in Mathematics as a Science of Patterns

Published in print December 1999 | ISBN: 9780198250142
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598296 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198250142.003.0003
 The Case for Mathematical Realism

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

The application of mathematics to science and the enormous success that derives from it is, perhaps, the strongest evidence in favour of mathematical realism. Quine and Putnam have taken the indispensability of mathematics in doing science as the main premise in an argument for both the truth of mathematics and the existence of mathematical objects. This argument has been criticized, among other things, for presupposing a realist position with regard to science. In this chapter, I propose a new argument, the pragmatic indispensability argument that avoids the problem by failing to presuppose that our best scientific theories are true. I argue that the justification for doing science also justifies our accepting as true, the mathematics that science uses.

Keywords: application of mathematics; indispensability; justification; mathematical realism; pragmatic; Putnam; Quine; success

Chapter.  3970 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.