FOM: Re: How to help promote f.o.m.

charles silver silver_1 at
Sat Mar 3 08:50:18 EST 2001

>I think there needs to be a support system, such as journals, jobs,
>prestige, etc.   Without such support, it's hard to envision great
>development in a joint area.
Joe Shipman:
>Hmmm.  Maybe it's time for Steve, Harvey, and Martin to found an
>journal called "Foundations of Mathematics" (if that isn't already
>taken) which accepts finished (and referreed and typeset) papers
>than informal bulletin board postings.   To be acceptable a paper
>have to have mathematical interest and be philosophically competent,
>have philosophical interest and be mathematically competent, but
>preference would be given to papers of both philosophical and
>mathematical interest.  Philosophically critical expositions of
>mathematical subjects, for example.
>I'm willing to volunteer my services as a referee.  FOM subscribers
>have made substantial contributions to the FOM list could help
>jump-start this journal by reworking some of their postings into a
>careful and polished form.

    I think that's an excellent idea, but I would like you and the
three people you mention to contact other persons, perhaps even
non-fomers, who clearly have strong philosophical and mathematical
backgrounds and are interested in f.o.m. issues.    Solomon Feferman,
Charles Parsons, Alasdair Urquhart, Allen Hazen, and Mark Steiner come
to mind, all of whom are on fom, except Feferman.   Speaking of
Feferman not being on fom, I think it would be more interesting if
persons who may disagree with either Harvey or Steve also be
contacted.   I'm thinking now of Soare, who earlier disagreed strongly
with Steve, but I do not know whether Soare has a strong enough
philosophical background or whether philosophical issues interest him.

   Incidentally, I think the philosophical part should not be
relegated to the background (which I fear it could easily be, which
would then result in reproducing the type of exclusively technical
journals that already exist, except for this new journal containing
some philosophical mutterings, just to satisfy the philosophical
component).  It strikes me that mathematicians, physicists, and other
scientists often think they are competent in philosophy simply because
they have a few ideas they consider philosophical and have looked at a
philosophy book or two.   On the other side of the coin, this would be
somewhat similar to (though not exactly the same as) philosophers who
think they're competent in mathematics simply because they have a few
ideas they consider mathematical and have looked at a mathematics book
or two.   I think Harvey's right that most mathematical logicians are
extremely philosophically naive [even if they think they have
interesting philosophical ideas].  <==  Harvey did not actually *say*
this, but something close.  At any rate, my point is that
philosophical standards should be kept on a par with mathematical

Charlie Silver

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