Article

A Priority and Application: Philosophy of Mathematics in the Modern Period

Lisa Shabel

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780195325928
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195325928.003.0002

Series: Oxford Handbooks

A Priority and Application: Philosophy of Mathematics in the Modern Period

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The state of modern mathematical practice called for a modern philosopher of mathematics to answer two interrelated questions. Given that mathematical ontology includes quantifiable empirical objects, how to explain the paradigmatic features of pure mathematical reasoning: universality, certainty, necessity. And, without giving up the special status of pure mathematical reasoning, how to explain the ability of pure mathematics to come into contact with and describe the empirically accessible natural world. The first question comes to a demand for apriority: a viable philosophical account of early modern mathematics must explain the apriority of mathematical reasoning. The second question comes to a demand for applicability: a viable philosophical account of early modern mathematics must explain the applicability of mathematical reasoning. This article begins by providing a brief account of a relevant aspect of early modern mathematical practice, in order to situate philosophers in their historical and mathematical context.

Keywords: mathematical ontology; empirical objects; pure mathematical reasoning; universality; certainty; necessity; apriority

Article.  9558 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Epistemology

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