[FOM] Fictionalism About Mathematics

Harry Deutsch hdeutsch at ilstu.edu
Mon Mar 12 02:58:48 EDT 2012

This comment is the essential point.  If mathematics is a fictional story, what  (who) determines what is true in the story?  In fiction the author is the absolute authority, but that does not, of course, seem true of mathematics.

On Mar 11, 2012, at 10:37 AM, Alan Weir wrote:

> Of course that raises lots of philosophical questions: it's correct but untrue? It's true in some 'light sense' but not in any weightier one? If correctness = 'true in the story' as in Harry's gloss, that can't mean, 'has been published and will never be challenged' for we have good reason to believe false 'theorems' will have been published and remain undetected, and anyway most mathematical theses will be such that neither they nor their negations will ever be concretely inscribed. Does it mean 'is provable from axioms which constitute 'the story''? Then we seem to be moving towards formalism.

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