A constructivist perspective on physics

Philosophia Mathematica 10 (1):26-42 (2002)

Abstract

This paper examines the problem of extending the programme of mathematical constructivism to applied mathematics. I am not concerned with the question of whether conventional mathematical physics makes essential use of the principle of excluded middle, but rather with the more fundamental question of whether the concept of physical infinity is constructively intelligible. I consider two kinds of physical infinity: a countably infinite constellation of stars and the infinitely divisible space-time continuum. I argue (contrary to Hellman) that these do not. pose any insuperable problem for constructivism, and that constructivism may have a useful new perspective to offer on physics.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,805

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
41 (#280,875)

6 months
1 (#386,499)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.Willard V. O. Quine - 1951 - Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge.
Theory and Evidence.Clark N. Glymour - 1980 - Princeton University Press.

View all 56 references / Add more references

Similar books and articles

The Many Faces of Mathematical Constructivism.B. Kerkhove & J. P. Bendegem - 2012 - Constructivist Foundations 7 (2):97-103.
Hermann Weyl on Minkowskian Space–Time and Riemannian Geometry.Yvon Gauthier - 2005 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (3):261 – 269.
Mathematical Constructivism in Spacetime.Geoffrey Hellman - 1998 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (3):425-450.
Physics Develops Unaffected by Constructivism.Helmut Schwegler - 2001 - Foundations of Science 6 (4):241-253.