Mathematical Epistemology and Psychology by Evert W. Beth, Jean Piaget (auth.)

By Evert W. Beth, Jean Piaget (auth.)

One of the arguable philosophical problems with fresh years has been the query of the character of logical and mathematical entities. Platonist or linguistic modes of clarification became stylish, when abstrac­ tionist and constructionist theories have ceased to be so. Beth and Piaget procedure this challenge of their ebook from a bit of assorted issues of view. Beth's strategy is essentially historico-critical, even if he discusses the character of heuristic pondering in arithmetic, while that of Piaget is psycho-genetic. the main objective of this advent is to summarise many of the details in their respective arguments. within the first a part of this publication Beth makes a close research of the heritage of philosophical brooding about arithmetic, and attracts our cognizance to the real position performed by means of the Aristotelian method of the demon­ strative sciences. This, he tells us, is characterized by means of 3 postulates: (a) deductivity, (b) self-evidence, and (c) fact. The final postulate asserts that the primitive notions of a demonstrative technological know-how should have connection with a website of genuine entities in an effort to have importance. at the Aristote­ lian view discursive reasoning performs an important function in arithmetic, when natural instinct performs a a bit subordinate one.

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So it would be natural to interpret negation and affirmation as expressing respectively belief and disbelief. But this interpretation implies that affirmation and negation are two independent assertions linked by the fact (established by generalising certain data of introspection) that they are incompatible, and this interpretation is rejected by Mill. In consequence we can only conceive belief according to Mill as a mental state given as a phenomenon, and disbelief as the absence of belief. However, this interpretation brings in the concept of negation, and if this concept is assumed it is no longer necessary to have recourse to observation to take account of the incompatibility of belief and disbelief.

With Kant, however, intuitionism only concerns mathematics so that deduction, valueless in mathematics, retains all its importance for the philosophical disciplines. Pure intuition, the basis of mathematics, although superior to perception, is inferior to the understanding as a discursive faculty and to reason as the seat of abstract principles. 14. Pascal It is appropriate to mention Pascal here for three reasons. First because it was Pascal (and not Maurolico) who discovered the principle of complete induction.

Even the method of algebra with its equations, from which the correct answer, together with its proof is deduced by reduction, is not indeed geometrical in nature, but is still constructive in a way characteristic of the science. The concepts attached to the symbols, especially concerning the relations of magnitudes, are presented in intuition; and this method, in addition Couturat, 1905, p. 246. Kant, 1764, 1. Betrachtung, Sections 1-2. 734. (Kemp Smith, pp. 587-8, p. ) 13 MATHEMATICAL EPISTEMOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY simple and certain, so that the things themselves can be completely disregarded.

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