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Fictionalism in the Philosophy of Mathematics

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[Revised entry by Mark Balaguer on July 23, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Mathematical fictionalism (hereafter, simply fictionalism) is best thought of as a reaction to mathematical platonism. Platonism is the view that (a) there exist abstract mathematical objects (i.e., nonspatiotemporal mathematical objects), and (b) our mathematical sentences and theories provide true descriptions of such objects. So, for instance, on the platonist view, the sentence '3 is prime' provides a straightforward description of a certain object - namely, the number 3 - in much the same way that the...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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