Katherine Dunlop
University of Texas at Austin
The main goal of part 1 is to challenge the widely held view that Poincaré orders the sciences in a hierarchy of dependence, such that all others presuppose arithmetic. Commentators have suggested that the intuition that grounds the use of induction in arithmetic also underlies the conception of a continuum, that the consistency of geometrical axioms must be proved through arithmetical induction, and that arithmetical induction licenses the supposition that certain operations form a group. I criticize each of these readings. More fully, I argue that the justification Poincaré offers for the use of the group notion in geometry appears to extend to set-theoretic notions that would suffice to put arithmetic on a logical foundation, thus undermining his own case for the necessity of intuition in arithmetic. In part 2, I offer an interpretation of intuition’s role on which it justifies the use of group-theoretic, but not set-theoretic, notions.
Keywords Henri Poincaré  Poincaré  Intuition
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DOI 10.1086/687846
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