The Limits of Abstraction

Paperback | June 15, 2008

byKit Fine

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What is abstraction? To what extent can it account for the existence and identity of abstract objects? And to what extent can it be used as a foundation for mathematics? Kit Fine provides rigorous and systematic answers to these questions along the lines proposed by Frege, in a book concernedboth with the technical development of the subject and with its philosophical underpinnings.Fine proposes an account of what it is for a principle of abstraction to be acceptable, and these acceptable principles are exactly characterized. A formal theory of abstraction is developed and shown to be capable of providing a foundation for both arithmetic and analysis. Fine argues that theusual attempts to see principles of abstraction as forms of stipulative definition have been largely unsuccessful but there may be other, more promising, ways of vindicating the various forms of contextual definition. The Limits of Abstraction breaks new ground both technically and philosophically, and will be essential reading for all who work on the philosophy of mathematics.

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What is abstraction? To what extent can it account for the existence and identity of abstract objects? And to what extent can it be used as a foundation for mathematics? Kit Fine provides rigorous and systematic answers to these questions along the lines proposed by Frege, in a book concernedboth with the technical development of the s...

Kit Fine is Silver Professor of Philosophy at New York University, specializing in Metaphysics, Logic, and Philosophy of Language. He has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies and is a former editor of the iJournal of Symbolic Logic/i. He is the author (with A. N. Prior) of iWorl...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:214 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.51 inPublished:June 15, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199533636

ISBN - 13:9780199533633

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPhilosophical Introduction1. 2. Truth3. Definition4. Reconceptualization5. Foundations6. The Identity of AbstractsThe Context Principle1. What is the Context Principle?2. Completeness3. The Caesar Problem4. Referential Determinacy5. Predicativity6. The Possible Predicative Content of Hume's LawThe Analysis of Acceptability1. Language and Logic2. Models3. Preliminary Results4. Tenability5. Generation6. Categoricity7. Invariance8. Hyperinflation9. Internalized ProofsThe General Theory of Abstraction1. The System2. Semantics3. Derivations4. Further WorkReferences Index

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"It is a great book. In demanding but always succinct prose, it presents a wealth of distinctions, insights, and arguments."--Oystein Linnebo, Australasian Journal of Philosophy