Poincare on Mathematics, Intuition and the Foundations of Science

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:217 - 226 (1994)
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Abstract

In his first philosophy book, Science and Hypothesis, Poincare provides a picture in which the different sciences are arranged in a hierarchy. Arithmetic is the most general of all the sciences because it is presupposed by all the others. Next comes mathematical magnitude, or the analysis of the continuum, which presupposes arithmetic; and so on. Poincare's basic view was that experiment in science depends on fixing other concepts first. More generally, certain concepts must be fixed before others: hence the hierarchy. This paper attempts to dissolve some potential problems regarding Poincare's hierarchy. One is an apparent epistemological circularity in the hierarchy. A more serious problem regarding the epistemology of analysis is also addressed.

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Janet Folina
Macalester College

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Intuitions in physics.Jonathan Tallant - 2013 - Synthese 190 (15):2959-2980.

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