The Reality of Numbers: A Physicalists Philosophy of Mathematics

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byJohn Bigelow

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This book casts new light on mathematics through its consideration of metaphysical materialism. The author identifies natural, real and imaginary numbers and sets with specified physical properties and relations. However sets are construed numbers are not sets. Sets are important simply because they instantiate all the numbers and all the other properties and relations studied in mathematics. Set theory tempts us into misunderstanding the nature of mathematics; Bigelow challenges the myth that mathematicalobjects can be defined into existence. By reconstruing numbers as real, non-linguistic, physical properties or relations, mathematics can be drawn back from its sterile, abstract exile into the midst of the physical world to which we belong.

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This book casts new light on mathematics through its consideration of metaphysical materialism. The author identifies natural, real and imaginary numbers and sets with specified physical properties and relations. However sets are construed numbers are not sets. Sets are important simply because they instantiate all the numbers and a...

John Bigelow is at La Trobe University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.63 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198249578

ISBN - 13:9780198249573

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'This is what philosophy ought to be: a grand vision combined with original and careful work on the details. It is presented with lucidity and modesty and good humour, and without bedazzling technicalities. An admirable book.'David Lewis, Princeton University, Australasian Journal of Philosophy