A platonist epistemology

Synthese 103 (3):303 - 325 (1995)
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Abstract

A response is given here to Benacerraf's 1973 argument that mathematical platonism is incompatible with a naturalistic epistemology. Unlike almost all previous platonist responses to Benacerraf, the response given here is positive rather than negative; that is, rather than trying to find a problem with Benacerraf's argument, I accept his challenge and meet it head on by constructing an epistemology of abstract (i.e., aspatial and atemporal) mathematical objects. Thus, I show that spatio-temporal creatures like ourselves can attain knowledge about mathematical objects by simply explaininghow they can do this. My argument is based upon the adoption of a particular version of platonism — full-blooded platonism — which asserts that any mathematical object which possiblycould exist actuallydoes exist.

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Mark Balaguer
California State University, Los Angeles

Citations of this work

Debunking arguments.Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (12):e12638.
The Intellectual Given.John Bengson - 2015 - Mind 124 (495):707-760.
What is the Benacerraf Problem?Justin Clarke-Doane - 2017 - In Fabrice Pataut Jody Azzouni, Paul Benacerraf Justin Clarke-Doane, Jacques Dubucs Sébastien Gandon, Brice Halimi Jon Perez Laraudogoitia, Mary Leng Ana Leon-Mejia, Antonio Leon-Sanchez Marco Panza, Fabrice Pataut Philippe de Rouilhan & Andrea Sereni Stuart Shapiro (eds.), New Perspectives on the Philosophy of Paul Benacerraf: Truth, Objects, Infinity (Fabrice Pataut, Editor). Springer.

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Realism, Mathematics & Modality.Hartry H. Field - 1989 - New York, NY, USA: Blackwell.
Mathematical truth.Paul Benacerraf - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (19):661-679.
Realism in mathematics.Penelope Maddy - 1990 - New York: Oxford University Prress.

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