Arithmetic and Ontology
This volume documents a lively exchange between five philosophers of mathematics. It also introduces a new voice in one central debate in the philosophy of mathematics. Non-realism, i.e., the view supported by Hugly and Sayward in their monograph, is an original position distinct from the widely known realism and anti-realism. Non-realism is characterized by the rejection of a central assumption shared by many realists and anti-realists, i.e., the assumption that mathematical statements purport to refer to objects. The defense of their main argument for the thesis that arithmetic lacks ontology brings the authors to discuss also the controversial contrast between pure and empirical arithmetical discourse. Colin Cheyne, Sanford Shieh, and Jean Paul Van Bendegem, each coming from a different perspective, test the genuine originality of non-realism and raise objections to it. Novel interpretations of well-known arguments, e.g., the indispensability argument, and historical views, e.g. Frege, are interwoven with the development of the authors’ account. The discussion of the often neglected views of Wittgenstein and Prior provide an interesting and much needed contribution to the current debate in the philosophy of mathematics.