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Single Idea 21570

[catalogued under 6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 7. Formalism]

Full Idea

Numbers are nothing but a verbal convenience, and disappear when the propositions that seem to contain them are fully written out.

Gist of Idea

Numbers are just verbal conveniences, which can be analysed away


Bertrand Russell (Is Mathematics purely Linguistic? [1952], p.301)

A Reaction

This is the culmination of the process which began with his 1905 theory of definite descriptions. The intervening step was Wittgenstein's purely formal account of the logical connectives.

Book Reference

Russell,Bertrand: 'Essays in Analysis', ed/tr. Lackey,Douglas [George Braziller 1973], p.301