Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Mathematics and Scientific Representation$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Christopher Pincock

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199757107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199757107.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 11 August 2020



(p.190) 9 Indispensability
Mathematics and Scientific Representation

Christopher Pincock

Oxford University Press

An indispensability argument uses the central role of mathematics in science to argue for a particular interpretation of pure mathematics. This chapter considers three different indispensability arguments offered by Quine, Putnam and Colyvan. Pincock argues that each author deploys a different definition of what the indispensability of mathematics requires. A related point is that different conclusions seem to be supported by the premises of each argument. While Quine’s argument supports platonism, his premises are difficult to defend. By contrast, Putnam’s and Colyvan’s arguments support a realism about the truth-value of mathematical statements. While somewhat sympathetic to Colyvan’s argument, Pincock argues that mathematics requires prior support so that it can make its contributions to the success of science.

Keywords:   indispensability argument, platonism, realism in truth-value, ontological commitment

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .