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Is Structure Not Enough?
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 70, No. 5, Proceedings of the 2002 Biennial Meeting of The Philosophy of Science AssociationPart I: Contributed PapersEdited by Sandra D. Mitchell (December 2003), pp. 879-890
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/377374
Page Count: 12
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Mathematical relations, Mathematical objects, Cardinality, A priori knowledge, Mathematical sets, Mathematics, Logical theorems, Mathematical theorems, Mathematical set theory, Arithmetic
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This paper counters an objection raised against one of Bertrand Russell's lesser‐known epistemological views, viz. “structural realism” (SR). In short, SR holds that at most we have knowledge of the structure of the external (i.e., physical) world. M. H. A. Newman's allegedly fatal objection is that SR is either trivial or false. I argue that the accusation of triviality is itself empty since it fails to establish that SR knowledge claims are uninformative. Moreover, appealing to Quine's notion of ontological relativity, I suggest that far from being false, SR knowledge claims seem to be the most that we can hope for.
Copyright 2003 by the Philosophy of Science Association. All rights reserved.