more from Hilary Putnam

Single Idea 9940

[catalogued under 6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 4. Mathematical Empiricism / a. Mathematical empiricism]

Full Idea

Mathematics might be 'empirical' in the sense that one is allowed to try to put alternatives into the field.

Gist of Idea

Maybe mathematics is empirical in that we could try to change it


Hilary Putnam (Mathematics without Foundations [1967], p.303)

Book Reference

'Philosophy of Mathematics: readings (2nd)', ed/tr. Benacerraf/Putnam [CUP 1983], p.303

A Reaction

He admits that change is highly unlikely. It take hardcore Millian arithmetic to be only changeable if pebbles start behaving very differently with regard to their quantities, which appears to be almost inconceivable.