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Philosophy Discussion Club

Friday, February 26, 2021 at 3:00pm to 6:00pm

Virtual Event

James Walsh, Klarman Postdoctoral Fellow in the Sage School, will give a talk entitled "The modeling in model-theoretic skepticism"


One might believe that arithmetical claims like “there are infinitely many primes” have an intended interpretation; they concern the natural numbers. Yet an influential skeptical argument is supposed to show that there is no intended interpretation of arithmetical discourse. This argument appeals crucially to a result in mathematical logic. How can results in mathematical logic yield conclusions about mathematical practice, broadly construed to include the semantics of mathematical language? I will argue that mathematical logic is informative in this way insofar as it involves the study of scientific models of mathematical practice. Though the idealizations in these models facilitate the study of a narrow range of features of mathematical practice, they distort other features. I will argue that these distortions motivate the aforementioned skeptical arguments. That is, the skeptical arguments turn on a conflation between mathematical practice and the scientific models of mathematical practice studied in mathematical logic.

Dial-In Information

Meeting ID: 917 9177 2300
Passcode: 872020

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Contact Name

Arc Kocurek


James Walsh

Speaker Affiliation

Sage School of Philosophy, Cornell

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