Dedekind and Cassirer on Mathematical Concept Formation†

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AbstractDedekind's major work on the foundations of arithmetic employs several techniques that have left him open to charges of psychologism, and through this, to worries about the objectivity of the natural-number concept he defines. While I accept that Dedekind takes the foundation for arithmetic to lie in certain mental powers, I will also argue that, given an appropriate philosophical background, this need not make numbers into subjective mental objects. Even though Dedekind himself did not provide that background, one can nevertheless be found in the work of the neo-Kantian Ernst Cassirer on mathematical concept formation.

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News source: Philosophia Mathematica Current Issue

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