Scientific vs. mathematical realism: The indispensability argument

Philosophia Mathematica 3 (2):166-174 (1995)
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Abstract

Penelope Maddy and Elliott Sober recently attacked the confirmational indispensability argument for mathematical realism. We cannot count on science to provide evidence for the truth of mathematics, they say, because either scientific testing fails to confirm mathematics (Sober) or too much mathematics occurs in false scientific theories (Maddy). I present a pragmatic indispensability argument immune to these objections, and show that this argument supports mathematical realism independently of scientific realism. Mathematical realism, it turns out, may be even more firmly established than scientific realism.

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Michael Resnik
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

References found in this work

The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
Philosophy of logic.Hilary Putnam - 1971 - London,: Allen & Unwin. Edited by Stephen Laurence & Cynthia Macdonald.
Philosophy of Logic.Hilary Putnam - 1971 - New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
Indispensability and Practice.Penelope Maddy - 1992 - Journal of Philosophy 89 (6):275.
Mathematics and indispensability.Elliott Sober - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (1):35-57.

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