more from Frank P. Ramsey

Single Idea 13426

[catalogued under 6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 6. Logicism / d. Logicism critique]

Full Idea

The formalists neglected the content altogether and made mathematics meaningless, but the logicians neglected the form and made mathematics consist of any true generalisations; only by taking account of both sides can we obtain an adequate theory.

Gist of Idea

Formalists neglect content, but the logicists have focused on generalizations, and neglected form


Frank P. Ramsey (The Foundations of Mathematics [1925], 1)

Book Reference

Ramsey,Frank: 'Philosophical Papers', ed/tr. Mellor,D.H. [CUP 1990], p.168

A Reaction

He says mathematics is 'tautological generalizations'. It is a criticism of modern structuralism that it overemphasises form, and fails to pay attention to the meaning of the concepts which stand at the 'nodes' of the structure.