Single Idea 18201

[catalogued under 6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 4. Mathematical Empiricism / c. Against mathematical empiricism]

Full Idea

The existence of very general principles in mathematics are universally regarded as obvious, where on an empiricist view one would expect them to be bold hypotheses, about which a prudent scientist would maintain reserve.

Gist of Idea

General principles can be obvious in mathematics, but bold speculations in empirical science


Charles Parsons (Mathematical Intuition [1980], p.152), quoted by Penelope Maddy - Naturalism in Mathematics

Book Reference

Maddy,Penelope: 'Naturalism in Mathematics' [OUP 2000], p.106

A Reaction

This is mainly aimed at Quine's and Putnam's indispensability (to science) argument about mathematics.