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The roots of contemporary Platonism

  • Penelope Maddy (a1)

Extract

Though many working mathematicians embrace a rough and ready form of Platonism, that venerable position has suffered a checkered philosophical career. Indeed the three schools of thought with which most of us began our official philosophizing about mathematics—Intuitionism, Formalism, and Logicism—all stand in fundamental disagreement with Platonism. Nevertheless, various versions of Platonistic thinking survive in contemporary philosophical circles. The aim of this paper is to describe these views, and, as my title suggests, to trace their roots.

I'll begin with some preliminary remarks about the big three schools. This seems a reasonable approach to the issues both because most observers are familiar, at least in a general way, with the tenets of Intuitionism, Formalism, and Logicism, and because it is in reaction to these that contemporary Platonism has taken shape.

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The roots of contemporary Platonism

  • Penelope Maddy (a1)

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