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S. Shapiro - Philosophy of Mathematics 2000

S. Shapiro - Philosophy of Mathematics 2000

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Stewart SHAPIROPhilosophy of Mathematics
Oxford: Oxford University Press2000
end p.
iii
 Numbers . . . are known only by their laws, the lawsof arithmetic, so that any constructs obeying thoselaws—certain sets, for instance—are eligible . . .explications of number. Sets in turn are knownonly by their laws, the laws of set theory . . . arithmeticis all there is to number . . . there is no sayingabsolutely what the numbers are; there is onlyarithmetic.Quine [1969, 44-45]If in the consideration of a simply infinite system. . . set in order by a transformation . . . we entirelyneglect the special character of the elements; simplyretaining their distinguishability and takinginto account only the relations to one another inwhich they are placed by the order-setting transformation . . . , then are these elements called
natural numbers
or 
ordinal numbers
or simply
numbers
.Dedekind [1888, §73]
end p.
vii
Contents
 
Introduction3 PART I PERSPECTIVE1
Mathematics and Its Philosophy
 21 2
Object and Truth: A Realist Manifesto
 36 1 Slogans36 2 Methodology38 3 Philosophy44 4 Interlude on Antirealism51 5 Quine52 6 A Role for the External57 PART II STRUCTURALISM3
Structure
 71 1 Opening71 2 Ontology: Object77 3 Ontology: Structure84 4 Theories of Structure90 5 Mathematics: Structures, All the Way Down97 6 Addendum: Function and Structure106 4
Epistemology and Reference
 109 1 Epistemic Preamble109 2 Small Finite Structure: Abstraction and Pattern Recognition112 3 Long Strings and Large Natural Numbers 1164 To the Infinite: The Natural-Number Structure 1185 Indiscernability, Identity and Object 1206 Ontological Interlude 1267 Implicit Definition and Structure 1298 Existence and Uniqueness: Coherence and Categoricity 1329 Conclusions: Language, Reference and Deduction 1375
How We Got Here
1431 When Does Structuralism Begin? 1432 Geometry, Space, Structure 1443 A Tale of Two Debates 1523.1 Round One: Poincaré versus Russell 1533.2 Hilbert and the Emergence of Logic 1573.3 Round Two: Frege versus Hilbert 1613.4 Frege 165
 
4 Dedekind and
 Ante Rem
Structures 1705 Nicholas Bourbaki 176PART III RAMIFICATIONS AND APPLICATIONS 1796
Practice: Construction, Modality, Logic
1811 Dynamic Language 1812 Idealization to the Max 1833 Construction, Semantics and Ontology 1854 Construction, Logic and Object 1895 Dynamic Language and Structure 1936 Synthesis 1987 Assertion, Modality and Truth 2038 Practice, Logic and Metaphysics 2117
Modality, Structure, Ontology
2161 Modality 2162 Modal Fictionalism 2193 Modal Structuralism 2284 Other Bargains 2305 What Is a Structuralist to Make of All This? 2358
Life outside Mathematics: Structure and Reality
2431 Structure and Science – the Problem 2432 Application and Structure 2473 Borders 2554 Maybe It Is Structures All the Way Down 256References 263Index 273
end p.
ix
Introduction
This book has both an old topic and a relatively new one. The old topic is the ontological statusof mathematical objects: do numbers, sets, and so on, exist? The relatively new topic is the semanticalstatus of mathematical statements: what do mathematical statements mean? Are they literally true or false, are they vacuous, or do they lack truth-values altogether? The bulk of this book is devoted to providing and defending answers to these questions and tracing some implications of the answers, butthe first order of business is to shed some light on the questions themselves. What is at stake when oneeither adopts or rejects answers?Much contemporary philosophy of mathematics has its roots in Benacerraf [1973], whichsketches an intriguing dilemma for our subject. One strong desideratum is that mathematical statementshave the same semantics as ordinary statements, or at least respectable scientific statements. Becausemathematics is a dignified and vitally important endeavor, one ought to try to take mathematicalassertions literally, "at face value." This is just to hypothesize that mathematicians probably know whatthey are talking about, at least most of the time, and that they mean what they say. Another motivationfor the desideratum comes from the fact that scientific language is thoroughly intertwined withmathematical language. It would be awkward and counterintuitive to provide separate semantic accountsfor mathematical and scientific language, and yet another account of how various discourses interact.Among philosophers, the prevailing semantic theory today is a truth-valued account, sometimescalled "Tarskian." Model theory provides the framework. The desideratum, then, is that the model-theoretic scheme be applied to mathematical and ordinary (or scientific) language alike, or else thescheme be rejected for both discourses.The prevailing model-theoretic semantics suggests realism in mathematics, in two senses. First,according to model-theoretic semantics, the singular terms of a mathematical language denote objects,and the variables range over a domain-of-discourse. Thus, mathematical
objects
 —numbers, functions,sets, and the like—exist. This is
end p.
3what I call
realism in ontology
. A popular and closely related theme is the Quinean dictum thatone's ontology consists of the range of the bound variables in properly regimented discourse. The sloganis "to be is to be the value of a variable." The second sense of realism suggested by the model-theoreticframework is that each well- formed, meaningful sentence has a determinate and nonvacuous truth-value, either truth or falsehood. This is
realism in truth-value
.
 
We now approach Benacerraf's dilemma. From the realism in ontology, we have the existence of mathematical objects. It would appear that these objects are
abstract 
, in the sense that they are causallyinert, not located in space and time, and so on. Moreover, from the realism in truth-value, it wouldappear that assertions like the twin-prime conjecture and the continuum hypothesis are either true or false, independently of the mind, language, or convention of the mathematician. Thus, we are led to aview much like traditional Platonism, and the notorious epistemological problems that come with it. If mathematical objects are outside the causal nexus, how can we know anything about them? How can wehave any confidence in what the mathematicians say about mathematical objects? Again, I take it as"data" that most contemporary mathematics is correct. Thus, it is incumbent to show how it is possiblefor mathematicians to get it right most of the time. Under the suggested realism, this requires epistemicaccess to an acausal, eternal, and detached mathematical realm. This is the most serious problem for realism.Benacerraf [1973] argues that antirealist philosophies of mathematics have a more tractable lineon epistemology, but then the semantic desideratum is in danger. Here is our dilemma: the desiredcontinuity between mathematical language and everyday and scientific language suggests realism, andthis leaves us with seemingly intractable epistemic problems. We must either solve the problems withrealism, give up the continuity between mathematical and everyday discourse, or give up the prevailingsemantical accounts of ordinary and scientific language.Most contemporary work in philosophy of mathematics begins here. Realists grab one horn of the trilemma, antirealists grab one of the others. The straightforward, but daunting strategy for realists isto develop an epistemology for mathematics while maintaining the ontological and semanticcommitments. A more modest strategy is to argue that even if we are clueless concerning the epistemic problems with mathematics, these problems are close analogues of (presumably unsolved) epistemic problems with ordinary or scientific discourse. Clearly, we do have scientific and ordinary knowledge,even if we do not know how it works. The strategy is to link mathematical knowledge to scientificknowledge. The ploy would not solve the epistemic problems with mathematics, of course, but it wouldsuggest that the problems are no more troublesome than those of scientific or ordinary discourse. Themodest strategy conforms nicely to the seamless interplay between mathematical and ordinary or scientific discourse. On this view, everyday or scientific knowledge just is, in part, mathematicalknowledge.For a realist, however, the modest strategy exacerbates the dichotomy between the abstractmathematical realm and the ordinary physical realm, bringing the problem of 
applicability
to the fore.The realist needs an account of the relationship between the eternal, acausal, detached mathematicaluniverse and the subject matter of 
end p.
4science and everyday language—the material world. How it is that an abstract, eternal, acausalrealm manages to get entangled with the ordinary, physical world around us, so much so thatmathematical knowledge is essential for scientific knowledge?Antirealist programs, on the other hand, try to account for mathematics without assuming theindependent existence of mathematical objects, or that mathematical statements have objective truth-values. On the antirealist programs, the semantic desideratum is not fulfilled, unless one goes on to givean antirealist semantics for ordinary or scientific language. Benacerraf's observation is that someantirealist programs have promising beginnings, but one burden of this book is to show that the promiseis not delivered. If attention is restricted to those antirealist programs that accept and account for the bulk of contemporary mathematics, without demanding major revisions in mathematics, then theepistemic (and semantic) problems are just as troublesome as those of realism. In a sense, the problemsare equivalent. For example, a common maneuver today is to introduce a "primitive," such as a modaloperator, in order to reduce ontology. The proposal is to trade ontology for ideology. However, in thecontext at hand—mathematics—the ideology introduces epistemic problems quite in line with the problems with realism. The epistemic difficulties with realism are generated by the richness of mathematics itself.In an earlier paper, Benacerraf [1965] raises another problem for realism in ontology (see alsoKitcher [1983, chapter 6]). It is well known that virtually every field of mathematics can be reduced to,or modeled in, set theory. Matters of economy suggest that there be a single type of object for all of 

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