[FOM] Shapiro on natural and formal languages

William Tait wwtx at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 24 17:37:41 EST 2004

On Nov 24, 2004, at 10:57 AM, Roger B Jones wrote:

> I know of no
> philosopher (living or dead) who I would consider a
> "foundationalist" as this concept is defined by Shapiro.
> I am myself highly appreciative of the merits of mathematical
> "foundation systems" and would expect by any reasonable
> definition of "foundationalist" to count myself in.
> I am not, however, even close to being a foundationalist
> by Shapiro's definition.

Perhaps you are right that no-one is a foundationalist in Shapiro's 
sense---I hope you are. But there are many who have ascribed it to 
others and, in particular who have criticized foundational studies by 
taking its only motivation to be foundationalism. For example, I 
believe that that is true of Philip Kitcher's book "The Nature of 
Mathematical Knowledge" as well as of some of the 'postmodern' writers 
in the field. I may be wrong, but I certainly thought that Shapiro's 
discussion of this was directed at such writers and was intended to 
defend the study of foundations by separating it from foundationalism,

Happy Thanksgiving (for what we have to be thankful for---and for the 
rest: don't think about it anymore until Friday)

Bill Tait

More information about the FOM mailing list