Philosophia Mathematica 13 (3):277-293 (2005)

Authors
Mary Leng
University of York
Abstract
This paper responds to John Burgess's ‘Mathematics and _Bleak House_’. While Burgess's rejection of hermeneutic fictionalism is accepted, it is argued that his two main attacks on revolutionary fictionalism fail to meet their target. Firstly, ‘philosophical modesty’ should not prevent philosophers from questioning the truth of claims made within successful practices, provided that the utility of those practices as they stand can be explained. Secondly, Carnapian scepticism concerning the meaningfulness of _metaphysical_ existence claims has no force against a _naturalized_ version of fictionalism, according to which our ordinary standards of scientific evidence may show that we have no reason to believe the mathematical existence claims made within the context of our mathematical and scientific theories.
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DOI 10.1093/philmat/nki016
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References found in this work BETA

Science Without Numbers: A Defence of Nominalism.Hartry H. Field - 1980 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 4 (11):20-40.
The Scientific Image.Michael Friedman - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (5):274-283.

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Citations of this work BETA

Can Fictionalists Have Faith?Finlay Malcolm - 2018 - Religious Studies 54 (2):215-232.
Platonism in Metaphysics.Markn D. Balaguer - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1 (1):1.
Deferentialism.Chris Daly & David Liggins - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (3):321-337.
Fictionalism in the Philosophy of Mathematics.Mark Balaguer - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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