more from Charles Chihara

Single Idea 9559

[catalogued under 7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 10. Ontological Commitment / e. Ontological commitment problems]

Full Idea

If mathematics shares whatever confirmation accrues to the theories using it, would it not be reasonable to suppose that mathematics shares whatever disconfirmation accrues to the theories using it?

Gist of Idea

If a successful theory confirms mathematics, presumably a failed theory disconfirms it?

Source

Charles Chihara (A Structural Account of Mathematics [2004], 05.8)

Book Reference

Chihara,Charles: 'A Structural Account of Mathematics' [OUP 2004], p.133


A Reaction

Presumably Quine would bite the bullet here, although maths is much closer to the centre of his web of belief, and so far less likely to require adjustment. In practice, though, mathematics is not challenged whenever an experiment fails.