Nominalism and Constructivism in Seventeenth-Century Mathematical Philosophy  book cover
1st Edition

Nominalism and Constructivism in Seventeenth-Century Mathematical Philosophy

ISBN 9780415542968
Published June 13, 2012 by Routledge
184 Pages

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Book Description

What was the basis for the adoption of mathematics as the primary mode of discourse for describing natural events by a large segment of the philosophical community in the seventeenth century?

In answering this question, this book demonstrates that a significant group of philosophers shared the belief that there is no necessary correspondence between external reality and objects of human understanding, which they held to include the objects of mathematical and linguistic discourse. The result is a scholarly reliable, but accessible, account of the role of mathematics in the works of (amongst others) Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, Newton, Leibniz, and Berkeley.

This impressive volume will benefit scholars interested in the history of philosophy, mathematical philosophy and the history of mathematics.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Chapter 1: Introduction - Mathematization and the ‘Language of Nature’; Chapter 2: Realists and Nominalists: Language and Mathematics before the Scientific Revolution; Chapter 3: Ontology Recapitulates Epistemology: Gassendi, Epicurean Atomism, and Nominalism; Chapter 4: British Empiricism, Nominalism, and Constructivism; Chapter 5: Three Mathematicians: Constructivist Epistemology and the New Mathematical Methods; Conclusion: Mathematization and the Nature of Language; Notes; References; Index


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David Sepkoski is Assistant Professor of History at Oberlin College, USA.