# [FOM] Mathematical explanation

mjmurphy 4mjmu at rogers.com
Mon Oct 24 15:27:36 EDT 2005

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>
> Well, here's a position that has at least the beneifit of clarity and
> brevity:
>
> No explanations without counterfactuals
> No counterfactuals without contingency
> All of Mathematics is necessary
> ------------------------------
> No explanations in mathematics!
>
>
> I'm not saying i believe it, but finding the right place to pick holes
> might be a useful discipline.
----

Well, I wonder about the third premise.  Is mathematics necessary?  For
example, there is an example of Searle's (borrowed from Wittgenstein, but I
don't quite know where).  The example involves the mathematical proposition
3 + 4.  Imagine two overlapping circles, A and B.  A contains three dots, B
four.  However, two of the dots fall into the area where A and B overlap.
Here, Searle and LW contend, A + B = 5.  Searle uses this to entertain the
possibility that the statements of mathematics are context dependent, which
I assume means contingent.

Cheers,

M.J.Murphy

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