[FOM] real numbers

Mitchell Spector spector at seattleu.edu
Tue May 13 01:33:47 EDT 2003

On Sunday, May 11, 2003, at 11:31  PM, Bill Taylor 
<W.Taylor at math.canterbury.ac.nz> wrote:
> The physical world is real enough, but so is
> (IOHO) the abstract world of mathematical objects.

What does "real" mean here?  Is this the same sense
in which Santa Claus can be said to be real?

After all, there is general agreement within our
culture on the characteristics of Santa Claus, on
his appearance, on his behavior and motivations,

Isn't this the same sort of "reality" which
mathematical objects have, a "reality" dependent
on a human cultural context?  Reality in the
physical world has no such dependence (or much
less such, anyway).

[By the way, I don't think I'm disagreeing with
your basic view.  But I'd be inclined to avoid
the use of the word "real" to describe the

Mitchell Spector
Seattle University
E-mail: spector at seattleu.edu

More information about the FOM mailing list