Paying attention to the inner workings of mathematicians has led to a proliferation of new themes in the philosophy of mathematics. Several of these have to do with epistemology. Philosophers of mathematical practice, however, have not (yet) systematically engaged with general (analytic) epistemology. To be sure, there are some exceptions, but they are few and far between. In this chapter, I offer an explanation of why this might be the case and show how the situation could be remedied. I contend (...) that it is only by conceiving the knowing subject(s) as embodied, fallible, and embedded in a speciﬁc context (along the lines of what has been done within social and feminist epistemology) that we can pursue an epistemology of mathematics sensitive to actual mathematical practice. I further suggest that this reconception of the knowing subject(s) does not force us to abandon the traditional framework of epistemology in which knowledge requires justiﬁed true belief. It does, however, lead to a fallible conception of mathematical justiﬁcation that, among other things, makes Gettier cases possible. This shows that topics considered to be far removed from the interests of philosophers of mathematical practice might reveal to be relevant to them. (shrink)
The debate between exceptionalists and anti-exceptionalists about logic is often framed as concerning whether the justification of logical theories is a priori or a posteriori (for short: whether logic is a priori or a posteriori). As we substantiate (S1), this framing more deeply encodes the usual anti-exceptionalist thesis that logical theories, like scientific theories, are abductively justified, coupled with the common supposition that abduction is an a posteriori mode of inference, in the sense that the epistemic value of abduction is (...) (and, indeed, must be) a posteriori. In past work, however, we have argued that this common supposition is incorrect: abduction is an a priori mode of inference, in the sense that the epistemic value of abduction is (and indeed, must be) a priori (Biggs and Wilson 2017a, 2017b, 2019). After sketching our two main argumentative strategies for this conclusion (S2), we go on (S3) to consider its import on the proper understanding of anti-exceptionalism about logic. (shrink)
Wittgenstein's paradoxical theses that unproved propositions are meaningless, proofs form new concepts and rules, and contradictions are of limited concern, led to a variety of interpretations, most of them centered on rule-following skepticism. We argue, with the help of C. S. Peirce's distinction between corollarial and theorematic proofs, that his intuitions are better explained by resistance to what we call conceptual omniscience, treating meaning as fixed content specified in advance. We interpret the distinction in the context of modern epistemic logic (...) and semantic information theory, and show how removing conceptual omniscience helps resolve Wittgenstein's paradoxes and explain the puzzle of deduction, its ability to generate new knowledge and meaning. (shrink)
This paper argues that Weyl's criticism of Dedekind’s principle that "In science, what is provable ought not to be believed without proof." challenges not only a logicist norm of belief in mathematics, but also a realist view about whether there is a fact of the matter as to what norms of belief are correct.
The present paper aims at showing that there are times when set theoretical knowledge increases in a non-cumulative way. In other words, what we call ‘set theory’ is not one theory which grows by simple addition of a theorem after the other, but a finite sequence of theories T1, ..., Tn in which Ti+1, for 1 ≤ i < n, supersedes Ti. This thesis has a great philosophical significance because it implies that there is a sense in which mathematical theories, (...) like the theories belonging to the empirical sciences, are fallible and that, consequently, mathematical knowledge has a quasi-empirical nature. The way I have chosen to provide evidence in favour of the correctness of the main thesis of this article consists in arguing that Cantor–Zermelo set theory is a Lakatosian Mathematical Research Programme (MRP). (shrink)