[FOM] Platonism and Formalism

Torkel Franzen torkel at sm.luth.se
Fri Oct 3 02:38:24 EDT 2003

  Vladimir Sazonov says:

  >Why do YOU defend mysticism in or around mathematics 
  >(in the form of Platonism)? 

  If I defend anything, it is anti-Platonism, which I think is a very
natural metaphysical impulse. Platonism looks after itself, you might
say. For example, I say of a particular 1024-bit number that it is
very likely indeed that it is in fact a prime, and that we may
therefore treat it as such. To the objection that this "in fact" is
sheer mysticism, since it does not refer to any proof or computation
that has in fact been or will in fact be or can in fact be carried
out, I can only say that the anti-Platonist is welcome to try to make
sense of the innumerable uses of concrete mathematics in his terms,
and that I will be interested to see the results.

 >I do not know what do you mean by referring to this book. 

 Only to give a specific meaning to the term "concrete mathematics".

Torkel Franzen

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