Science without Numbers

Paperback | November 26, 2016

byHartry Field

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Science Without Numbers caused a stir in philosophy on its original publication in 1980, with its bold nominalist approach to the ontology of mathematics and science. Hartry Field argues that we can explain the utility of mathematics without assuming it true. Part of the argument is that goodmathematics has a special feature ("conservativeness") that allows it to be applied to "nominalistic" claims (roughly, those neutral to the existence of mathematical entities) in a way that generates nominalistic consequences more easily without generating any new ones. Field goes on to argue thatwe can axiomatize physical theories using nominalistic claims only, and that in fact this has advantages over the usual axiomatizations that are independent of nominalism. There has been much debate about the book since it first appeared. It is now reissued in a revised contains a substantial newpreface giving the author's current views on the original book and the issues that were raised in the subsequent discussion of it.

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Science Without Numbers caused a stir in philosophy on its original publication in 1980, with its bold nominalist approach to the ontology of mathematics and science. Hartry Field argues that we can explain the utility of mathematics without assuming it true. Part of the argument is that goodmathematics has a special feature ("conserv...

Hartry Field is the University Professor and Silver Professor of Philosophy at New York University, having previously taught at Princeton, University of Southern California, and the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is the author of Science Without Numbers (original edition 1980, Blackwell and Princeton), Realism, Mathem...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:176 pagesPublished:November 26, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198777922

ISBN - 13:9780198777922

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Table of Contents

1. Why the Utility of Mathematical Entities is Unlike the Utility of Theoretical EntitiesAppendix: On Conservativeness2. First Illustration of Why Mathematical Entities are Useful: Arithmetic3. Second Illustration of Why Mathematical Entities are Useful: Geometry and Distance4. Nominalism and the Structure of Physical Space5. My Strategy for Nominalizing Physics, and its Advantages6. A Nominalistic Treatment of Newtonian Space-Time7. A Nominalistic Treatment of Quantities, and a Preview of a Nominalistic Treatment of the Laws Involving them8. Newtonian Gravitational Theory Nominalized9. Logic and Ontology