FOM: social construction?

Kanovei kanovei at
Fri Mar 20 09:32:08 EST 1998

<Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 07:50:50 -0500 (EST)
<From: Charles Silver <csilver at>

>I'm suggesting that when
>we say that 7 or sqrt(2) or sqrt(-1) or the real number system "exist" what
>we (as mathematicians) mean (or at least ought to mean) is that we know how
>to determine some of their properties as definite and have good reason to
>think of those we can not decide as definite problems to work on. 

There has been a challenge to this point (by Steel, I think). 
Indeed, the statement

"Sh. Holmes existed" 

obviously satisfies the definition. 

Vladimir Kanovei

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