[FOM] Mathematical explanation

mjmurphy 4mjmu at rogers.com
Mon Oct 24 15:27:36 EDT 2005

> Well, here's a position that has at least the beneifit of clarity and
> brevity:
> No explanations without counterfactuals
> No counterfactuals without contingency
> All of Mathematics is necessary
> ------------------------------
> No explanations in mathematics!
> I'm not saying i believe it, but finding the right place to pick holes
> might be a useful discipline.

Well, I wonder about the third premise.  Is mathematics necessary?  For 
example, there is an example of Searle's (borrowed from Wittgenstein, but I 
don't quite know where).  The example involves the mathematical proposition 
3 + 4.  Imagine two overlapping circles, A and B.  A contains three dots, B 
four.  However, two of the dots fall into the area where A and B overlap. 
Here, Searle and LW contend, A + B = 5.  Searle uses this to entertain the 
possibility that the statements of mathematics are context dependent, which 
I assume means contingent.



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