Intellectual humility in mathematics

Synthese 199 (3-4):5571-5601 ()
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Abstract

In this paper I explore how intellectual humility manifests in mathematical practices. To do this I employ accounts of this virtue as developed by virtue epistemologists in three case studies of mathematical activity. As a contribution to a Topical Collection on virtue theory of mathematical practices this paper explores in how far existing virtue-theoretic frameworks can be applied to a philosophical analysis of mathematical practices. I argue that the individual accounts of intellectual humility are successful at tracking some manifestations of this virtue in mathematical practices and fail to track others. There are two upshots to this. First, the accounts of the intellectual virtues provided by virtue epistemologists are insightful for the development of a virtue theory of mathematical practices but require adjustments in some cases. Second, the case studies reveal dimensions of intellectual humility virtue epistemologists have thus far overlooked in their theoretical reflections.

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References found in this work

A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40).David Hume - 1969 - Mineola, N.Y.: Oxford University Press. Edited by Ernest Campbell Mossner.
Knowledge and social imagery.David Bloor - 1976 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Intellectual Humility: Owning Our Limitations.Dennis Whitcomb, Heather Battaly, Jason Baehr & Daniel Howard-Snyder - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (3):509-539.
Realism in mathematics.Penelope Maddy - 1990 - New York: Oxford University Prress.
Knowledge and Social Imagery.David Bloor - 1979 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 30 (2):195-199.

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