Platonic realism

More modern versions of the theory do not apply such potentially misleading descriptions to universals. Instead, such versions maintain that it is meaningless or a category mistake to apply the categories of space and time to universals.

Platonic realism

Preliminaries Three preliminary comments are needed. Firstly, there has been a great deal of debate in recent philosophy about the relationship between realism, construed as a metaphysical doctrine, and doctrines in the theory of meaning and philosophy of language concerning the nature of truth and its role in accounts of linguistic understanding see Dummett and Devitt a for radically different views on the issue.

Independent of the issue about the relationship between metaphysics and the theory of meaning, the well-known disquotational properties of the truth-predicate allow claims about objects, properties, and facts to be framed as claims about the truth of sentences.

As Devitt points out b: To say that it is a fact that the moon is spherical is just to say that the object, the moon, instantiates the property of being spherical, which is just to say that the moon is spherical.

There are substantial metaphysical issues about the nature of facts, objects, and properties, and the relationships between them see Mellor and Oliver and Lowepart IVbut these are not of concern here.

Thirdly, as stated above, Generic Realism about the mental or the intentional would strictly speaking appear to be ruled out ab initio, since clearly Jones' believing that Cardiff is in Wales is not independent of facts about belief: However, such trivial dependencies are not what are at issue in debates between realists and non-realists about the mental and the intentional.

A non-realist who objected to the independence dimension of realism about the mental would claim that Jones' believing that Cardiff is in Wales depends in some non-trivial sense on facts about beliefs, etc.

Against the Existence Dimension I: Error-Theory and Arithmetic There are at least two distinct ways in which a non-realist can reject the existence dimension of realism about a particular subject matter. The first of these rejects the existence dimension by rejecting the claim that the distinctive objects of that subject-matter exist, while the second admits that those objects exist but denies that they instantiate any of the properties distinctive of that subject-matter.

Non-realism of the first kind can be illustrated via Hartry Field's error-theoretic account of arithmetic, and non-realism of the second kind via J. Mackie's error-theoretic account of morals.

Platonic realism

This will show how realism about a subject-matter can be questioned on both epistemological and metaphysical grounds. This object is abstract because it has no spatial or temporal location, and is causally inert. A platonic realist about arithmetic will say that the number 7 exists and instantiates the property of being prime independently of anyone's beliefs, linguistic practices, conceptual schemes, and so on.

A certain kind of nominalist rejects the existence claim which the platonic realist makes: Platonists divide on their account of the epistemology of arithmetic: The main arguments against platonic realism turn on the idea that the platonist position precludes a satisfactory epistemology of arithmetic.

For the classic exposition of the doubt that platonism can square its claims to accommodate knowledge of arithmetical truth with its conception of the subject matter of arithmetic as causally inert, see Benacerraf Benacerraf argued that platonism faces difficulties in squaring its conception of the subject-matter of arithmetic with a general causal constraint on knowledge roughly, that a subject can be said to know that P only if she stands in some causal relation to the subject matter of P.

In response, platonists have attacked the idea that a plausible causal constraint on ascriptions of knowledge can be formulated Wright Ch. In response, Hartry Field, on the side of the anti-platonists, has developed a new variant of Benacerraf's epistemological challenge which does not depend for its force on maintaining a generalised causal constraint on ascriptions of knowledge.

Field's challenge to the platonist is to offer an account of what such a platonist should regard as a datum—i.

Rather, Field conceives what is potentially a far more powerful challenge to platonic realism when he suggests that not only has the platonic realist no recourse to any explanation of reliability that is causal in character, but that she has no recourse to any explanation that is non-causal in character either.

T here seems prima facie to be a difficulty in principle in explaining the regularity. The problem arises in part from the fact that mathematical entities as the [platonic realist] conceives them, do not causally interact with mathematicians, or indeed with anything else.

This means we cannot explain the mathematicians beliefs and utterances on the basis of the mathematical facts being causally involved in the production of those beliefs and utterances; or on the basis of the beliefs or utterances causally producing the mathematical facts; or on the basis of some common cause producing both.

Perhaps then some sort of non-causal explanation of the correlation is possible? Perhaps; but it is very hard to see what this supposed non-causal explanation could be.

Recall that on the usual platonist picture [i. The problem is that the claims that the [platonic realist] makes about mathematical objects appears to rule out any reasonable strategy for explaining the systematic correlation in question. Platonic realism is committed to the existence of acausal objects and to the claim that these objects, and facts about them, are independent of anyone's beliefs, linguistic practices, conceptual schemes, and so on in short to the claim that these objects, and facts about them, are language- and mind-independent.

Any causal explanation of reliability is incompatible with the acausality of mathematical objects. Any non-causal explanation of reliability is incompatible with the language- and mind-independence of mathematical objects. Any explanation of reliability must be causal or non-causal.

There is no explanation of reliability that is compatible with both the acausality and language- and mind-independence of mathematical objects.


Therefore, There is no explanation of reliability that is compatible with platonic realism. Whether there is a version of platonic realism with the resources to see off Field's epistemological challenge is very much a live issue see HaleDivers and Miller What does Field propose as an alternative to platonic realism in arithmetic?

For Field, the utility of mathematical theories resides not in their truth but in their conservativeness, where a mathematical theory S is conservative if and only if for any nominalistically respectable statement A i.

In short, mathematics is useful, not because it allows you to derive conclusions that you couldn't have derived from nominalistically respectable premises alone, but rather because it makes the derivation of those nominalistically respectable conclusions easier than it might otherwise have been.This is why, when we talk of Plato, we sometimes talk of the realism of essences.

Platonic realism

In this sense (a distant independent reality, probably not situated in time and space-time), it is difficult for the philosophical realism of a physicist to avoid being a little bit Platonist.

Platonic realism is a philosophical term usually used to refer to the idea of realism regarding the existence of universals after the Greek philosopher Plato who lived between c.

–c. BC, student of Socrates, and the teacher of Aristotle. Platonic idealism synonyms, Platonic idealism pronunciation, Platonic idealism translation, English dictionary definition of Platonic idealism. n. The philosophy of Plato, especially insofar as it asserts ideal forms as an absolute and eternal reality of which the phenomena of the world are an.

Platonic realism (Realism) is a philosophical term usually used to refer to the idea of realism regarding the existence of universals or abstract objects after the Greek philosopher Plato (c.

–c. BC). As universals were considered by Plato to be ideal forms, this stance is confusingly also called Platonic . Oct 21,  · Platonic dualism aka platonic tradition alias theory of form occupies a significant position in world of philosophy.

He gave the view: the physical world is an imperfect world, that is actually the copy of a sample existing in some imaginary world.

Platonism had a profound effect on Western thought, and many Platonic notions were adopted by the Christian church which understood Plato's forms as God's thoughts, while Neoplatonism became a major influence on Christian mysticism, in the West through St Augustine, Doctor of the Catholic Church whose Christian writings were heavily influenced by Plotinus' Enneads, and in turn were foundations for the .

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