(2007) Synthese 157 (1).

Dispensability in the indispensability argument

Patrick Dieveney

pp. 105-128

One of the most influential arguments for realism about mathematical objects is the indispensability argument. Simply put, this is the argument that insofar as we are committed to the existence of the physical objects existentially quantified over in our best scientific theories, we are also committed to the mathematical objects existentially quantified over in these theories. Following the Quine–Putnam formulation of the indispensability argument, some proponents of the indispensability argument have made the mistake of taking confirmational holism to be an essential premise of the argument. In this paper, I consider the reasons philosophers have taken confirmational holism to be essential to the argument and argue that, contrary to the traditional view, confirmational holism is dispensable.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11229-006-9035-y

Full citation:

Dieveney, P. (2007). Dispensability in the indispensability argument. Synthese 157 (1), pp. 105-128.

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