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Two Weak Points of the Enhanced Indispensability Argument – Domain of the Argument and Definition of Indispensability

Organon F, 2016, vol. 23, No 3, pp. 280-298.
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The contemporary Platonists in the philosophy of mathematics argue that mathematical objects exist. One of the arguments by which they support this standpoint is the so-called Enhanced Indispensability Argument (EIA). This paper aims at pointing out the difficulties inherent to the EIA. The first is contained in the vague formulation of the Argument, which is the reason why not even an approximate scope of the set objects whose existence is stated by the Argument can be established. The second problem is reflected in the vagueness of the very term indispensability, which is essential to the Argument. The paper will remind of a recent definition of the concept of indispensability of a mathematical object, reveal its deficiency and propose an improvement of this definition. Following this, we will deal with one of the consequences of the arbitrary employment of the concept of indispensability of a mathematical theory. We will propose a definition of this concept as well, in accordance with the common intuition about it. Eventually, on the basis of these two definitions, the paper will describe the relation between these two concepts, in the attempt to clarify the conceptual apparatus of the EIA.

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