more from Penelope Maddy

Single Idea 18204

[catalogued under 6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 4. Mathematical Empiricism / b. Indispensability of mathematics]

Full Idea

Crudely, the scientist posits only those entities without which she cannot account for observations, while the set theorist posits as many entities as she can, short of inconsistency.

Gist of Idea

Scientists posit as few entities as possible, but set theorist posit as many as possible


Penelope Maddy (Naturalism in Mathematics [1997], II.5)

Book Reference

Maddy,Penelope: 'Naturalism in Mathematics' [OUP 2000], p.131