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Philosophy of Logic 405

(3) p and not -p.

And still another principle is the validity of this:

(4) p or not -9.

Let us now look at these principles one by one. Inference (1) is traditionally
Philosophy o f Logic stated to be valid for all t m S, M, P. But what is a term? Texts of contemporary
logic usually say that (1) is valid no matter what classes may be assigned to the
letters S, M and P as their extensions. Inference (1) then becomes just a way of
saying that if a class S is a subclass of a class M,and M is in turn a subclass of a
Hilary Putnam class P, then S is a subclass of P. In short, (1) on its modern interpretation just
expresses the transitivity of the relation 'subclass of I.This is a far cry from what
1 What Logic Is traditional logicians thought they were doing when they talked about Laws of
Thought and 'terms'. Here we have one of the confusing things about the science
Let us start by asking what logic is, and then try to see why there should be a of logic: that even where a principle may seem to have undergone no change in the
philosophical problem about logic. We might try to find out what logic is by course of the centuries - e.g. we still write:
examining various definitions of 'logic', but this would be a bad idea. The various
extant definitions of 'logic' manage to combine circularity with inexactness in one All S are M
way or another. Instead let us look at logic itself. All A4 are P
If we look at logic itself, we first notice that logic, like every other science, (therefore) All S are P
undergoes changes - sometimes rapid changes. In different centuries logicians
have had very different ideas concerning the scope of their subject, the methods - the interpretation of the 'unchanging' truth has, in fact, changed considerably.
proper to it, etc. Today the scope of logic is defined much more broadly than it what is worse, there is still some controversy about what the 'correct' interpreta-
ever was in the past, so that logic as some logicians conceive it, comes to include all tion is.
of pure mathematics. Also, the methods used in logical research today are almost Principle (2) is another example of a ~rinciplewhose correct interpretation is
exclusively mathematical ones. However, certain aspects of logic seem to undergo in dispute. T h e interpretation favoured by most logicians (including the
little change. Logical results, once established, seem to remain forever accepted as present writer) is that (2) asserts that the relation of identiq is reflexive:
correct - that is, logic changes not in the sense that we accept incompatible logical everything bears this relation (currently symb~lized '=') to itself. Some
principles in different centuries, but in the sense that the style and notation that philosophers are very unhappy, however, at the very idea that '=' is a
we employ in setting out logical principle varies enormoudy, and in the sense that relation. 'How can we make sense of a relation', they ask, 'except as something a
the province marked out for logic tends to get larger and larger. thing cdn bear to aanothm thing?"Sim nothiig can bear identiq to a diffirent
It seems wise, then, to begin by looking at a few of rhw pmnciplm that thing, they conclude thot whatever '=' may stand for, it does not stand for a
logicians have accepted virtually from the beginning. One such principle is the relation.
validity of the following inference: Finally,(3) and (4) raise the problem: what does p stand for? Some philmphers
urg.e that in (4), for example, p scan& for any s m t w you like, whereas other
(1) All S arc! M philosophers, including the proeent h t e r , find something ridiculous in the theory
All M are P that logic is about sentences,
(therefore) All S are P Still, all this disagreement about f i e points should not be allowed to c-hmre
the existence of a substantial body of agreement among all logia';tras - erea
Another is the Law of Identity: lo9;cians in different centuries. All 1ogich.m agree, fw example, rtLat frcrm tlte
(2) x is identical with x.
All men are mortal
Yet another is the incomisten~of the following: All mortals are unsatisfied
Philosophy of Logic 407
a?re may u&dly infer: Independently of the merits of this or that position on the 'noMiSm-&'
b, it is clear, however, rhat (B) cannot really be preferable to (A). For what m
k m t by a 'word or p h e of the appropriate kind7in(B)? Evm if we Pvrtivt h e
p m b h of just what constitutes the 'appropriate kind' of word or phrase, we
+vet if they aometima ditragree a b u t the proper statmmt ofthe general principle m w face the fact that what is meant is all posibk words and p
rurdwfying &is infmne. Simikly, ail fogicinns agree that if there is such a thing kine or other, and that possible wordr andphrascs are no more %onm
PI rhYc Eiffel Tower, thtn m.
This h u e is sometimes dodged in various ways. Olnc way is to ~y that
Ttte Eiffel Tower is i d a t i d with the Eiffei Tower dre nppmphte "hrases' that one may substitute for S, M, P arc all the 'me-
predicates' in a m a i n ' f o m l i z d he;uage9, A formof& finperuagc is
ehat (if there is such a thiig b ~ 3'the 6') given by completely specifying a grammar together with the meanfng~lof the
baeic trpmions. Which expressions in such a hguage are ofts.ph% prdiam
6.e. cbnames, although a nominalist wouldn't be aught d d calling than
is specified by a formal grammatical d e , In fwt, given a formP3lzcd
if dktqpte a b u t the statement of the relevant principle in t h ctacs
~ L, the class of permissible substitutions for the dummy lcttm 5,M,P in:
too. %I &ere & a M y of ' m a t doctrine' in Iogic; but it jusr doesn't
m e very fir, at Iarst when it cams to getting an exact and d v d y amp& (5) If all S are M and all M are P, then all S are P
gl;rtQntRt of rht g m d principles.
a be defined with great precision, so that the task of telling whether a certain
of letters is or is not a 'substitution- instance' of (1) (as the =it of a
ble substitutionis called) can even be performed purely mwhanidy, my,
b a mputing machine.
C~CW to satisfying nominalimic scruples, far thm it B WIX
I h t to
ity of (5) is not to talk about 'claws' at all, but merely to say that ill
@ t i ~ f ~ . h hof s (in some definite L) are m e ; i.e, that dl t b rtdngs d f
e (5)
d o r m to a certain formal criterion &&~ga r m b s d r ~ ~ ~ - i n s t ; ofsn~~:
(9 in -f language L) are true, And surely of letters'
owtf-Y ~ c r e t -e or are they?

408 Mathematical Objects I Philosopky of Logic
To put it another way, the fact that (A) is 'objectionable' on nominalistic
schema S is valid just in case substitution-instances of S in some Particular
grounds is not really a difficulty with the science of logic, but a difficulty with
fomalized language L are true - is unsatisfactory on the face of it. For surely
the philosophy of nominalism. It is not up to logic, any more than any other
when I say that (5) is valid, I mean that it is correct no matter what class-names
may be substituted for S, My P. If some formalized language L contained science, to conform its mode of speech to the philosophic demands of nominalism;
it is rather up to the nominalist to provide a satisfactory reinterpretation of such
names for all the classes of things that could be formed, then this might
assertions as (5), and of any other statements that logicians (and physicists,
come to the same as saying 'all substitution-instances of (5) in L are true'. But
biologists, and just plain men on the street) actually make.
it is a theorem of set theory that no language L can contain names for all the
collections of things that could be formed, at least not if the number of things is Even if we reject nominalism as a demand that we here and now strip our
infinite, scientific language of all reference to 'non-physical entities', we are not committed
To put it another way, what we g-et, if we adopt the nominalist's suggestion, is to rejecting nominalism as a philosophy, however. Those who believe that in truth
not one notion of validity, but an infinite series of such notions: validity in L1, there is nothing answering to such notions as class, number, possible string of
validity in L2, validity in L3,. . . where each notion amounts simply to 'truth of all letters, or that what does answer to such notions is some highly derived way of
substitution-instances' in the appropriate L,. talking about ordinary material objects, are free to go on arguing for their view,
We might try to avoid this by saying that a schema Sis valid just in case all of its and our unwillingness to conform our ordinary scientific language to their
substitution-instances in every L are true; but then we need the notion of all demands is in no way an unwillingness to discuss the philosophical issues raised
possibleforrnalized languages- a notion which is, if anything, less 'concrete' than the by their view. And this we shall now p r o d to do.
notion of a 'class'. We may begin by considering the various difficulties we just raised with
Secondly, the proposed nominalistic definition of validity requires the notion of formulation (B), and by s i n g what rejoinder the nominalist can make to these
'truth'. But this is a problematicnotion for a nominalist. Normally we do not think various difficulties.
of material objects - e.g. strings of actually inscribed letters (construed as First, one or two general comments. Nelson Goodman, who is the best-hown
little mounds of ink on paper) as 'true' or 'false'; it is rather what the strings of mninaht philosopher, has never adopted the definition of validity as 'truth of all
letters express that is true or false. But the meaning of a string of letters, or what the substitution-instances'. ( ~ comes
t from Hugues Leblanc and Richard m.)
string of letters 'expresses', is just the sort of entity the nominalist wants to get rid However, Good- has never tackled the problem of defining logical validity at
of. 4, so I have taken the liberty of discussing the one quasi-nominalistic attempt I
Thirdly, when we speak of all substitution-instances of (5), even in one have seen. Secondly, Goodman denies that nominalism is a restriction to 'physical'
partic& language L, we mean all possible substitution-instances - not just the entities. However, while the view that only physical entities (or 'mental @a-
ones that happen to 'exist' in the nominalistic sense (as little mounds of ink on lars', in an idealistic version of nominalism; or mental padcular~and physical
paper). To merely say that those instances of (5) which happen to be written down are things in a dualistic system) alone are r d may not be what Goodman intends to
true would not be to say that (5) is valid; for it might be that there is a false defend, it is the viewthat m a t people understand by 'nominalism', and there
substitution-instance of (5) which just does not happen to have been written little motive for being a nominalist apart from some such view. (The
down. But possible substitution-instances of (5) -possible strings of letters - are distinction between a restriction to 'physical entities' and a restriction to 'mental

not really physical objects any more than classes we. &dm' or 'physical things md m a d particulars' will not be discussed here,
One problm settms to be salved by the foregoing reflections. There is no reason since it does not seriously affect: the philosophy of logic.)
in stating logid principles to be more puristic, or more compulsive about avoid- The first argument we employ& against formulation (B) was that this formula-
ing reference to 'non-physical entities', than in scientific discourse gentrally. tion~ f l i t , replaces our lnmitive notion of validity by m y notions of
~ ~ f e m ctoc classes
: of things, and not just things, is a camonplace and useful didity CLS there pwjsible f o d i z & hjpages. Some logicians have tried to
mode of speech. If the nominalist wishes us to give it up, he must provide us with meet this di;Fficuityby the follo&ng kind of move: let Ls be a fo- ~ F F
an alternative mode of speech which works just as well, not just in pure logic, but rid mough to t& about the positive intqps, and to e x p m the notions 'x ISthe
also in such empirical sciences as physics (which is full of references to such 'non- " of Y and z' and 'x is the product of y and a'. Let 4 be any other formalized
physical' entities as state-vectors, Hamiitonians, Hilbert space, etc.). If he ever lanW%e. Let S be a schema which has the property that all its substitutio*
s u m d s , this will affect how we formulate scientific principles - not just in are tnue (call this property the p r o m of behg ' ~ d - ~ - & 'and,
logical ones. But in the meantime, there is no reason not to stick with such d o g o ~ ~ lh y ,us & a schema 'valid-&Li' if all its ~ ~ b s t i t u t i ~ ~in-Lbi m
formulations as (A), in view of the serious problems with such f o r m u ~ o n sas are "Pee). Then it is .true - and the proof can be f o n n a b d in any languag rich
(B). (And, as we have just seen, (B), in addition to being inadequate, is not even contain both the notiom of 'truth in &' and 'truth in Lj' - rhat S h
really nominalistic.) has the p r o m that all its substitution--^ in Li are true. In other words, if
Mathematical Objects Philosophy of Logic 411
I suitable three-dimensional cross-section of the whole fourdimensional space-
a schem is valid-in-&, Q is a& valid-in-Li. So, these logicians suggest, let US I time universe.) Why should it not be open to the nominalist to assert that some
simply define 'validity' to mean valid-in-&. If S is valid, it will then follow - not

by defirrition, but by virtue of the metamathematical theorem just mentioned - sentences are t m in the sense of having the relation occurring in (7) to suitable
that all of its substitution-instances in Li are true, no matter what language L; may organisms at suitable times? Granted that that relation is a complex one; the
be. So 'validity' will justify asserting arbitrary substitution-instances of a schema burden of proof is on the realist to show that that relation essentially presupposes
(as it should, on the intuitive notion). the existence of non-physical entities such as propositions, meanings or what have
T o this, one is tempted to reply that what I mean when I say 'S is valid' directly you.
implies that evay substitution-instance of S (in every formalized language) is true. Another form of the second argument takes the form of an 'appeal to ordinary
On the proposed definition of valid all that I mean when I say that 'S is valid' is language'. Thus it iscontended that
that S s substitution-instances in & are true; it is only a mathematical fact, and not
part of what I mean that then 5"s substitution-instances in any language are true.
Thus the proposed definition of valid completely fails to capture the intuitive
notion even if it is coextensive with the intuitive notion.
(8) John made a true statement

is perfectly correct 'ordinary language' in certain easily imagined

situations. Now there are two possibilities: (a) that (8) implies that statements
This reply, however, is not necessarily devastating. For the nominalistic logi-
cian may simply reply that he is not concerned to capture the 'intuitive' notion; it is exist (as non-physical entities); or (b) that (8) does not imply this. In case @) there
enough if he can provide us with a notion that is philosophically acceptable (to is no problem; we may as well go on talking about 'statements' (and, for that
him) and that will do the appropriate work. matter, about 'classes', 'numbers', etc.), since it is agreed that such talk does
Be t . as it may, the fact remains that the language & is one that itself requires not imply that statements (or numbers, or classes) exist as non-physical entities.
talking about 'mathematical entities' (namely numbers), and that the proof of the Then nominalism is futile, since the linguistic forms it wants to get rid of
statement that 'if S is valid-in-&, then S is valid-in-Liy requires talking about are philosophically harmless. In case (a), since (8) is true and (8) implies
arbitrary expressions of Li (i.e. about all possibh expressions of L,). Thus neither the existence of non-physical entities, it follows that these non-physical
the language Lo nor the metamathematical theorem just mentioned is really entities do exist! So nominalism is false! Thus nominalism must be either futile
available to a strict nominalist, i.e. to one who foreswears all talk about 'mathe- or false.
matical entities7. Against this the nominalist replies that what he wishes to do is to find a
The second argument we used was that the notion of 'truth' is not available to a 'translation functiony that will enable us to replace such sentences as (8) by
nominalist. However, this claim is extremely debatable. sentences which do not even appear to imply the existence of non-physical entities.
Our argument was, in a nutshell, that 'true7 makes no sense when applied to a The effect of this d, he thinks, be to provide us with a terminology which is
physical object, even if that physical object be an inscription of a sentence; it is not conceptually less confusing and more revealing of the nature of reality than the
the physical sentence that is true or false, but what the sentence says. And the things terminology we customarily employ. To be sure, such sentences as (8) are
sentences say, unlike the sentences (inscriptions) themselves, are not physical 'philosophically harmless' if c o d y understood; but the problem is to make
objects. clear what this correct understanding is.
The natural response for a nominalist to maEe here would, I think, to The nomidist tarn strengthen this somewhat by adding that it is not necessq,
distinguish between on his view, h t the d a t i m fundon p m e synonymy. It is enough that the
PKp0m.lto u n d m m d mch sentcnctel w (8) on the model of their nomhdkic
translatiom should be a gaod one, in the sense of conducing to i n d dnrity.
n u s the facr h.ein 'ordinary language' the wards 'true' and 'W are
I mxmally applid t~ 'st~ment;e'does not convince the n
Statements M y &st as non-physical entities, m that a departme fivlrn or-
e &Aer &at

(7) S is true as understoed by Oscar at time t.

If S is a physical object (say, a sentence-eption), then (6) makes little

I language (in, say, the direction of (7)) is an intell- sin.
Finally, t h e is thr:'atgument' that what (7) mans is: there is a dtsrcnscnt which
S 'expresses, to Oscar at time t, and that statnncnt is true. A d f g to this
indeed, save as an elliptical formulation of some such fact as (7). But (7) r e p m a F n t , (7) involves a &gukd reference to non-physkd mtitp (* 5'
a perfectly possible relation which may or m y not obtain between a givm W-'), and is thus not ' T ~ Y '-n C.
inscription, an organism, and a time. (How reference to 'times' is to be handled This argument r e d u w either to the appeal to o r d i h~ ~ just
by the ryominalist, I shalI not inquire; perhaps he must identify a 'time7 with a " to the mere cl;rim that really only statemma ( m a d nar m h ~ d
Philosophy o f h g i c 413
entitie e x p r e d by s n t a m ) can be 'true' or 'false'. Since this ck&-i is rests, cannot be satisfactorily explained in purely nominalistic terms, at least:
precisely what i at hue, is not an argument at all, but a mere begging of today.
the quesrion.
All argumaa that the notion o f m t h is unavailable to the nominalist seem tha
to bc bad argummts. h d , it does not follow that the nomidist 3 The Nominalism-Realism Imue and Logic
fhply entitled to the notion. Truth (or the triadic relation between i&ptioW
organisms, and tima that in (7)) is hardly a primitive thing like 'yellow', The issue of nominalism versus realism is an old one, and it is intmwhg to review
m l y the nominalist owes ua $ 0 m~u n t of what it is; an account consistently the way in which it has become connected with the philwphy of logic. E l a
framed w i t h the categories of his metaphysics. If he cannot ~rovidesuch an rnentary logic has enundated such principles as (2), (4)' (5)' hdls listed such
account (and what n o a i s t hag?), his right to use the notion d m become 1 p m of valid inference as (1) and has aamted the incomistmcy of such
mptcr. forms as (3) since Aristotle's day. Modern 'quantification theory', as the cor-
l3&0~the reader (or the nominalist) replies too hastily with tu quopuc, let him responding branch of madern logic is called, or 'first order logic with identity', has
be reminded of the following facts: the 'intuitive' notion of truth seems to be an immensely larger scope than the logic of Aristode, but the topic of concern is
inconsiment (cf. the well-known logical antinomies in connection with it); but remgnkably similar.
given any formalized language L, there is a predicate 'me-in-L' which one can The basic symbols are:
=ploy for d scientific purposes in place of the intuitive true (when the state-
ments under discussion are couched in L), and this predicate admits of a prceiif (i) 'Px' for % k is, and similarly, 'Pxy' for 'x bears P toy', 'PXYZ' for '3, y, z
definition using ody the vocabulary of L itself plus set theory.' This is not whoUy stand in the relation P',ere.
wm - one wodd prefix a single predicate 'true' to an inf'inite couection of (2) '(x)' (read: 'for every x') to indiate that every entity x satisties a condition;
p&at@ 'truein-L17,'true-in-L2', etc. - but it is not unbearable, and the i.e. '(x) Px' means 'every entity x is P'.
~nthonziesgive strong reason to doubt that any notion of truth applicable to all (iii) '(Ex)' (read: 'there is an x such that3)to indicate that some (at h ~ one) t
last^^ a d satisfying thc intuitive requirements could be consistent. The entity x satisfies a condition; i.e. '(Ex) Px' means 'there is an m t i x~which
r d k ia t h u in a mition not to explain the intuitive notion of truth, but to is P '.
pmvide a bEW' of dternative notions that he can use in all scientific contexts as (iv) '=' ( r d . 'is identi& with') for identity, i.e. 'x =y' means ' X is identical
one W O wish ~ to use 'We7, and t h t he can precisely defme. But - t d y , at least I
- ami~oteven do rhb much. with (is one and the same entity as) y'.
Our third svgumenr was that re%mncc to all the sentences of a fomdzed (v) '-'for 'and', 'V7for 'or7, '-' for 'not', e.g, '(PxV -Qx) - Rx' means 'either x
hguage (or i s p o r x i s notQ; p-~dx i s R'.
the mbstitutbn-instan= of a fmed sch-) is not refermce
to ' M P (*~ 'it hardly be SUP@ that sill the infinitely many
fm addition the symbols (read: 'if.. .then') and
mtm- Of language m y insrribed somewhere) but to
entities - ' M b l e inscriptions', or, ;according to authors, to the *kt'with -
J '$and
EE (read:
the defjnitions: 'Px Qx7 ("IfPx then 9 x 3 is short for
ody if') are
(Pz -ex)',-

'w' ~ p s p ~ which e = inscriptions exemplify. (These types arc: sup r
e - - Qx' is short for '(Px 3 Qx) (Qx 3 Px)'.
4to 'ex&' a m d m d y of whether any Mpoitas my =-lify this notation we am write down ail the principles that Arbto& staid. For
n@G &% theB m~are nan-physical entities.) Whm we my Ld~ M ~ U & X I - -pie, (5) b m e a
are -', we mew Z ~ S ~C & ~ ~ I P : R t Cb tCMg
4' d@m. Tgus &se 'suW&#ti-' -
~'ocnes-asemrmope'ph~tl\;ancf;lsses are.T o m y
to this ss-gmmt wadi d*g&. I k,
by roulaideri,ng the full clas~of & c h t ; l &at mite wi* this
~ - ~ ~ 0 f * ~ ~ r s ~ t h u s , n o Z d t e r e d o u r &
thar:@)kaa- fom-n. we- ftoWereh, &&
414 Mathematical Objects
Philosophy of Logic 415
tremendously important as it was for later developments - utterly inadequate lar
the analysis of deductive reasoning in its more complicated forms. ; (12) The statement that all boojums snark is either true or false.
In his many logical and philosophical writings, Quine has urged that q w *
ation thmry does not really assert, for example, formulation (A) of the p r d % my view, logic, as such, does not tell us that (9) is true: to know that (9) is
section. On Quine's view, when a logician builds a system one of whose t h m I V toC use my knowledge of the logical principle (A), @lwmy howled@
@IE ~
is, say, (st),he does not thereby mean to assert (A). Rather, in (5) or (st),
S, 4P ~4thhnthat the predicates <xis a mow', 'x is black' and 'x absorbs light' ue slch
jw the ming in a certain class, namely the class of aows, (re~pdvely)
are mere 'dummy letters' standing for any predicate you likt; and what the
is telling you is that all substitution-instances of (5) or (5') are truths of logic.

th of black things, (respectively) the class of things which absorb light.
Emgi 'howledge' involves a certain idealization: namdy, ignoring the fa3
On this view, the following is a 'truth of logic':
ibmmc of these predicates (especially black) are i W e f n d (neither m e nor
(9) If all aows are black and all black things absorb light, then hL.1in dw.However, even if we are willing to make this iddintion,
~~ ,'x is a crow' is a predicate which is m e (apnrt from pwiblc
absorb light,
of each thing in a certain class and fd% of w h thh$ in the
But the gene& principle (A): q h m t of that class is knowing a p o d bit about both language and the world.
?''h'r is a aoe' is a p r e q predicate, 'x is beautiflll' is P E W iU-
For all c l a w s , M, P: i f a l l ~ a r e ~ a nd ldM are P, t h e n a l l S m P and 'I is a snark7is meaningless, is not logical knowlsdg+ w h a t ~ e Lindr
ledge it may be.
thus a disapeanent between w e y d myself, it is just S U C ~
is not a truth of logic, on @e3s view, but a rmth of m t k t i c s .
9) that w e regards L ~ t of
h lope',
s while m r d i n g to me
NOW,then, I do not much care just where one draws the line be^^
b w t i ~ but
~ this
, particular proposal of Quhe's seems to me
principally two. In the fmt p k , l o g i d tradition P@ +. t reflects a mmplicated mixtxm of logid and e m e l d dand
But it is not impo-t that &e reader should agree with me
- all I &kt on, for present purposes, C that the decision
%&, fa,fmm the beginning it hm been the a n a m of l a g i c h ~to or
~ cW h d prindplm w (A) and not to 'sort out7such truths
@urhr.In the vmnd p h , 1 Idon 't d s u b B t i ~ t i o n of (9) - ~a ~
* (A) 'principles of logic7 is not ill-motivated, dfhcr
y. T h a e m y be Borne &oiw bere, to bc S m ; but it is h wt
schema nrr 'true': m e are obviously maninglcss. For exmnple: qiluik mtud choice makes m t a m t s m e (A), which

schemata so far consid

ex is^ an jndivid~lx
i1 ofdiscmme' we can say,
d9rtp e~ementswith th&
1 .
statement at 4 and n e i k
sww ~n ofthe muat d.Fm&ki
a-mtof&eform 'ifpmdi(,drenrYi-
r i s t n w ; ~ B ~ m e ~ q & 4 r ~ ( a
- ~ ~ ~ I - ~ i n m . a n c o f ( 1 0 ) ~robs
~ ~ ~ ~
d r =-~ & s u e r r o r =
416 Mathematical Objects Philosophy of Logic

which contains such theorems as (5'), what does he mean to be assertifig?He may, 'part of'). These adjectives and verbs need not correspond to observable proper-
of course, not mean to be asserting anything; he may just be constructing ties and relations; e.g. the predicate 'is an electron' is perfectly admissible, but
an uninterpreted formal system, but then he is certainly not doing logic. The they must not presuppose the existence of such entities as classes or numbers.
simple fact is that the great majority of logicians would understand the intention It has been repeatedly pointed out that such a language is inadequate for the
to be this: the theorems of the system are intended to be valid formulas. Implicitly, purposes of sciences; that to accept such a language as the only language we are
if not explicitly, the logician is concerned to make assertions of the form 'such- philosophically entitled to employ would, for example, require us to give up
and-such is valid'; that is, assertions of the kind (A). Thus even fmt order virtually all of mathematics. In truth, the restrictions of nominalism are as
logic would normally be understood as a 'metatheory'; in so far as he is making devastating for empirical science as they are for formal science; it is not jusr
assertions at all in writing down such schemata as (St), the logician is 'mathematics' but physics as well that we would have to give up.
rnalsing assertions of validity, and that means he is implicitly making second To see this, just consider the best-known example of a physical law: Newton's
order assertions: for to assert the validity of the first order schema (5') is just to law of gravitation. (That this law is not strictly true is irrelevant to the
assert (S)(M) (P)(schema 5') - and this is a second order assertion. present discussion; the far more complicated law that is actually m e undoubtedly
In sum, I believe that (a) it is rather arbitrary to say that 'second order' logic is requires even more mathematics for its formulation.) Newton's law, as
not 'logic'; and (b) even if we do say this, the natural understanding of first order everyone knows, asserts that there is a force fd exerted by any body a on my
logic is that in writing down first order schemata we are implicitly asserting their other body b. The direction of the force fd is towards a, and its magnitude P is
validity, that is, making second order assertions. In view of this, it is easy to see given by:
why and how the traditional nominalism-realism problem came to concern inten-
sely phiI&phers of logic: for, if we are right, the natural understanding of logic is
such that all logic, even quantification theory, involves reference to classes, that is,
to just the sort of entity that the nominalist wishes to banish.
where g is a universal constant, M, is the rnass of a, Mb is the rnass of by and d is
the distance which separates a and 6.
4 Logic Versus Mathematics I shall assume here a 'realistic' philosophy of physics; that is, I shallassume that
one of our important purposes in doing physics is to try to state 'true or very
In view of the foregoing reflections, it is extremely difficult to draw a non- nearly true' (the phrase is Newton's) laws, and not merely to build bridges or
d i a ~ l r yline between logic and mathematics. Some feel that this line should be predict experiences. I shall also pretend the law given above is correct, wen
identified with the lime between first order logic and second order logic; but, as we though we h o w today that it is only an approximation to a much more complic-
h v e just seen, this has the awkward consequence that the notions of validity and ated law. Both of these assumptions should be acceptable to a nominalist. Nomin-
implicstion2turn out to belong to mathematics and not to logic. Frege, and also alists must at heart be materialists, or so it seems to me: otherwise their scruples
Russell and Whitehead, counted not only second order logic but even higher order are unintelligible. And no materialist should boggle at the idea that matter obeys
logic (sets of sets of sets of. . .sets of individuals) as logic; this decision amounts to some objective laws, and that a purpose of science is to try to state them. And
saying that there is no line 'between' mathematics and logic; mathematics is part of assuming that Newton's law is strictly true is something we do only to have a
logic, If one wishes an 'in-between' view, perhaps we should take the one between definite example of a physical law before us - one which has a mathema-
m n d and third order logic to be the 'line7 in question. However, we dull m Bhvrrure (which is why it cannot be expressed in nominalistic language), and o m
trouble o d v e s much with this matter. The philosophical questions we are which is intelligible to moat people, as many more complicated physical laws
discussing in this chapter affect the philosophy of mathematics as much as tbe unfortunately an: not.
philasophy of W c ; and, indeed, we shall not trouble to distinguish the two Now then, the point of the example is that Newton's law has a content which,
mbjects- although in one sense is p e r f d y clear (it says that gravitational 'pully is directly
pwportionai to the maam and obeys an i n v m m law), quite transcads
what can be expressed in nominalistic language. Even if the world were simples
5 The Inadequacy of Nominalistic Language than it is, so that gravitation were the only force, and Newton's law held d y y
still it would be impossible to 'do7 physics in r m m h h t k language.
& a ' n u m h b i c h g w g e Yis meant a forrndimd language whose variables nnge Buthoweanwebesurethatthisisso?Evenifw>n~isth~~p4Tefa
over hdi6dw.l things, in soax suitable sense, and whose predicate letters Btartd way to 'tr;uzslate' such statements as Newtm's law into nomkktk how
for Ddjectiva~and v& applied to individwd things (such as 'hard', 'biggerytim, cm we be sure that no way exists?
418 Mathematical Objects Philosophy of Logic 419
Well, let us consider what is involved, and let us consider not only the law of
gravitation itself but also the obvious presuppositions of the law. The law pw spatial point does not intuitively depend on any particular coordinate systen. 1
supposes, in the first place, the existence of forces, distances and masses - not, prefer to think of them as properties of certain events (or of particles, if one has
perhaps, as red entities but as things that can somehow be measured by real pint-particles in one's physics); however, let us for the moment just take them as
numbers. We require, if we are to use the law, a language rich enough to sate not primitive entities, not further identified than by the name 'point'. On any view,
just the law itself, but fuls of the form 'the force fd is rl i r2', 'the mass & L there is a relation C ( ~ , Yz,, w) which we may d l the relation of conguma,
rl ia: 'the distance d is rl l r2', where r1, r2 are arbitrary rationals. (It is not which is a physically significant relation among poino, md which is expressed in
nmsary, or indeed possible, to have a name for each real number, but we need to word language by saying that the intervd Zjj is congruent to the intend W .(I MY
be able to express arbitrarily good rational estimates of physical magnitudes.) 'on any view', because there is a serious disagreement between those philosophem
But no nominalist has ever proposed a device whereby one might translate who think that this relation can be operationally defined and tho% who, like
arbitrary statemats of the form 'the distance d is rl fr2' into a nomiadistic myself, hold that all so-called operational definitiom ~e d u s i y i m m a t c . id
that the relation must be taken as primitive in physical theory.) k t t&? two
language. Moreover, unless we are willing to postulate the existence of an aaual
infinity of physical objects, no such 'translation scheme' can exist, by the follow&$ r ~ the end points of the standard metre in Paris at a p l d c u k insmt)
~ a i n (say,
simple argument: if there are only fintely many individuals, then there are only and call them a1 and az. We shall take the distance from a1 to a2 to be one, by
f ~ t e l ymany painvise non-equivalent statements in the formalized no* definition. Then we may defme 'distance' as a numerid mmure d&cd for My
innwage. In other words, there are fintely many statements Sl, 3 2 , . . . ,s* such two points x, y, as follows:
that for an arbitrary statement S, either S s Sl or S E S2or.. .or S E S., and
moreover (for the appropriate i) S G Si follows logically from the statement 'the 'The distance from r to y is r5 is defined to mean that f (r, y) = r, w h m f is
number of individuals is N ' . ~But if we have names for two different individuals in my function satisfying the following five conditions: P ~ w,Bv.
Our ' ~ P P of physics', say, a and b, and we can express the statemats 'F (1) f (w, v ) is defmed (and has a nonnegative real v*)
(2) f (w,v ) = 0 if and only if ru is the same point as V.
fiom a to 6 is one metre i one centimetr$, 'the distance from u to a
tWO metres f one entimetre', etc., then it is clear that we must have an i n w c 0) f(w, v ) =f (w', d ) if and only if C(w, v,&d) holds 6.e. if and only if the
!. of pak'wisc non-equivdent statements. (Nor d m the non-equivdma intervd 5% is congruent to the interval dd).
~mi8hgiven the pmnise 'the number of individu& is N'; it does not foJ.io~ (4) If W, V, u are colinear points and v is b-gn w and U, then f (w,u) =
f (w, v ) +f (v,u). (Here 'mlinear' and 'be~m' either be defined in
I o p ; i d ~fmm thnt p m i w that my two of the above statements have the
hurh vdue.) Thm my 'trmalntion' of 'the inn- ofphysia' into ' n o d e terms of the c-relation in known ways, or taken is h'thm plimitiv~f r w
physical geometry.)
"UBt disrupt lop;id relations: for any N, there will be two diff-t
i n e m n, ns such t h t the false " w x ~ ' : (5) f(a1,az) = 1.

If the number of iadividunb, is N, then the &tame h m n to b is n

one un. zz the dimma?from a to b is m metres f one cm.
* It be shown that t&e is a unique functionf ~tisfyingm d i t i a ( 1 ~ 5 ) :

a of logic if we a c q t the =lation sfhmre. Thm

for physim.
le b a d e q ~ t e

clearer if we look at the matter less fkmds-
metres' is an m e l y complex me. is
a physical magnitude aa $is- am % o m e b W h

e m)is the following: it is dePt ,?

of such mtiries as 'ptiLJ pR=@
Mathmtical Objects Philosophy of Logic 421
variable r l , rz, one needs some such notion as function or set. And the natural real numbers may be identified with series of rational numbers, for example,
way, as we have just seen, even involves functions from points to reals. r where a 'series' is just a funcltion whose domain is the natural numbers. Thus
It is easy for one and the same person to express nominalistic convictions in one dl of the 'objects' of pure mathematics may be built up starting with the one
context, and in a different context, to speak of distance as something defined (and notion set; indeed, this is the preferred style in contemporary mathematics.
having a numerical value) in the case of abritrary points x, y. Yet, as we have just Instead of saying, therefore, that physics essentially requires reference to func-
m,this is inconsistent. If the nunericalization of physical magnitudes is to makc tions and real numbers, as we did in the previous section, we could simply have
sense, we must accept such notions as function and real number; and these are just said that physics requires some such notion as set, for the notions of number and
the notions the nominalist rejects. Yet if nothing really answers to them, then what function can be built up in terms of that notion. In the present section we shall
at dl does the law of gravitation assert? For that law makes no sense at all unlcss make a cursory examination of the notion of a set.
we a n explain variables ranging over arbitrary distances (and also forces and The most famous difficulty with the notion of a set is this: suppose we assume
masses, of course).
(1). Sets are entities in their own right (i.e. things we can quantify over).6
(2) If 4 is any well-defined condition, then there is a set of all the entities
6 Predicative versus Impredicative Conceptions of 'Set' which satisfy the condition 4.
The set ( x , y ) with just the two elements x, y is called the unordered pair of x and Then (assuming also that the condition 'NX E x7is well-defined), it follows that
y. In t m of unordered pairs one can define ordered pairs in various ways. there is a set of all those sets x such that x does not belong to x. If y is that @t,
Perhaps the most natural, though not the customary, way is this:pick two objects then:
a and b to serve as 'markers7.Then iden* the ordered pair of x and y with the set
{{x, a), Cy, 6)) - i.e. with the unordered pair whose elements are the unordered (3) (x) ( x E y = EX)..
paix {x, a) and the unordered pair y, b. Let us adopt the notation < x, y > for
this ordered pair, i.e. < x, y > is defined to be {{x, a), b,b)}. Then it is d y But then,putting y for x,
sem that for any x, y, u, v:

and this is a self-contradiction!

if nnd only if x = u and y = v. Thus, two 'ordered pairs' are identical just in case Olt,viously, then, one of our assumptions was false. Which could it have been?
their elements asc the same and 61re also ordered the same - which is all that is We could say that 'NX E x7is not a well-defined condition. But if x E y is a well-
required of any d&nition of ordered pair.
Prr nwthernadm, a tweplaoc relation is simply a set of ordered pairs. S i n e
defined relation, for arbitrary sets x, y, then it would seem that x E x, and
N~ X, would have to be well-defined (in the sense of having a definite truth
'ordered pair' has just been defmed in terms of 'wnordered pair', and 'unordered value) on all sets x. T o give up either the idea that x E y is a well-defined reladon
ptzirs' arc simply sets, it follows that 'relation7 can be defined in terms of the one rhe idea that sets are entities we can qmtify over would be to give up @
primitive d o n set. If R is a relation such that for all u, D, y heo~y altogether- But the only a l t d w e is then to give up (or at least
G),which is highly counter-intuitive.
One way out of the difEiculty is the d e d theory of types. On this -9
k E y' is well-defined only if x and y are of the appropriate types, wh-
thx rhe r&hn R is d d a 'b-'.Since function has just been defined in individuafs count as theam type, setsofindividuals as typeme, s a s o f ~ e
terms of refitioa ( a dthe notion "=' which we count as part of ele~nenta.rylogic), individuals as type two, etc. #I this rheory, '--x E x' iis not men
itf&ws&at~has~d~intermsofsct. ~no~t~anbe&deithea.tobeor~~tmbeam~~ofi~s&
I t i s w & k w w n t f i a t . t h e d n l ~ z n b O ,1,2,3 ,...m n b e d e f i n e d i n t a n ~ ~ w ~ a s e t l r e l m g t o a n yw o f t h e m ~ t y p e ; b u t n @ w h & i r :
dscr,ininri~~ys.F~l.~p~e,one~identifyOwith~e~ptysa,Iwirh @ i W ( ~ ~ t o a n y & e t w h i c h i f ; ~ o f ~ m ~ ~ ) .
(a), then 2 with (4 I), tlzen 3 with (0,1,2), a.Also the d-tary U R bemmtrehtionammgin.di~,Asceta&thmLtfon'aUr, ifsc a*
'the'. m..c m all be d
'rr1.u~~. M fixan the notion of set. R a t h d numbers tm: a t b - y w l & h ~ , d f f o r h ~ t b & f l ~ -
w e w a n t t o a Ythaathexle i s ; a s l n m e ~ ~ m
U.21$031 we wlibe:
422 Mathemtptlatical Objects Phihsophy of Logic
sets definable earlier in the series, and this whole way of speaking - of
'sets definable in N', 'sets definable in N", etc. - can itself be regarded, if
where 'a is an R-chain' is short for '(x)(x EE a 3 ($)bE a .Rxy) )'. wishes, as a merefigon de parley, explainablein terms of the notions offor~~ula
Now, the set ,8 of d such U - d U such that some R-chain contains U - is a truth.
perfectly good set according to the theory of types, and also according to most '
In contrast to the foregoing, if one ever speaks of aU sets of individd r W~J-
mathematicians. Some few mathematicians and philosophers object to tbe idea of defined totality, and not just all ,sets definable in some one h ~ g inctb.
such a set, however. They argue that to define a set ,8 as the set of all U such that I
N, N', N", . ..then one is said to have an impredicative notion of m.
there is an R-chain containing U is 'viciousybaause the 'totality in terms of which
0 is defined7 - the totality of d l Rshains a - could contain P itself. in general,
these mathematicians and philosophers say that a set should never be defined in 7 HOWMuch Set Theory is Really Iodispen~abl~
terms of a 'totality' unless that totality is incapable of containing that set, or any st Science?
defined in terms of that set. This is, of m w e , rather vague. But the intention
underlying d this is nther interesting.
Suppose I do not understand the notion of a 'set' at d,and, indeed, suppose I
employ only some nominalistic language N. Suppose, now, that one day I decide
that 1 mderstand two notions which are not nominalistic, or, at any rate, whose
nomidistic status is debatable: the notions of 'fornula' and 'truth'. In terms of
these notions I can introduce a very weak notion of set. Nunely, suppose I identifi
sets with the formulas of my nominalistic language which have just one fns
variable x - e.g- the set of red thin* I identi@ with the formula 'Red($)'. f i e
notion of 'membership' I explain ss follows: if is an individual and a is a 'st'
6.e. a formula with one fiee varlble 'xy), then Ly E is to mean that a is true of anyway; and if f ~ ~ ~(inl the a sense
s of fornula
YYwhere a formula $(x) is true of an individual y just in w e the formula is m e my actual inscriptions or not) are 'absarct entities', ad
when is interpreted a name of y. Thus, if a is the formula 'Red(x)', we have: still they are relatively clear ones.
Y E a if and only if a is true of y
i.e. if and only if 'Red(x)' is true of y
i.e, if and only if y is red.

So 'Red($)'
out to be the 'set of 41 r&
a ' w ~ notion
&*' - a~ it should be.
of t , becam it still makes no sense to speak ofall
Bets of individuals, let done getD of higher type one - one an ofd
fOm&, to be m,but that is only to sp& of d l s m of individuals defionbk
If new p*tives s d d d to N, then, in pried, the todity of set. in the
%me just expi&&, will . However, one am frmn the above P*
lkrb, la bc the hgurgc one o b h s fmN by &owing q u a d f ~
o f m d i v i d ~defimbie in N, Mf the lmguagc rvc obtain
bydo* qmrifiati611 & Sets ofindiyidudISdcfiruble in w,etc.
of th-sna of i n d i v i d e - the ones definable in N, inK , inNtt, . prc -plcs
pf 'predi-tive' s e e a h of thee setg preupposes a Zotality' is d&d
earliery (s-g with the totaky of individd) and whj& d a s not P ~ P ~
(One i n a o d pRdiative
~~ sets of higher typ, in -t of form*
fOmulas, but thi.sill not be done heE.) The point that wnarrns ILs om is
this: this of-, prediotive notion of- is one which cm be w u
UP to any givm level in rhe dcs N, N; NO,. ..
. ~nterms of quantifying only
I 426 Mathematical Objects
linguistically deviant; i.e. that these sentences violate any norms of natural lan-
I Philosophy of Logic
'(%)(Fx - Gx - Hx) c (3x)FxY). But if ordinary language is not deductively

closed in this respect, then we can deductively close it by introducing (2) into
guage that can be ascertained to be norms of natural language by appropriate
scientific procedures. the language, and, moreover, this can be done essentially just one way, So we may
as well count (2) as part of the language to begin with.
To put it another way; it would be startling and important if we could honestly
iI show that locutions which are peculiar to philosophical discourse have something We have now rejected the view that 'numbers exist7, 'sets exist', etc., are
linguistically deviant, do not possess a truth value, etc.
linguistically wrong with them; but it is uninteresting to claim that this is so if the
'evidence' for the claim is merely that certain particular locutions which A second reason that certain philosophers might advance for r e j d n g indis-
peculiar to philosophy must have something wrong with them because they are pensability arguments is the following: these philosophers claim that the truths of
peculiar to philosophy and became locutions which occur only in philosophical logic and mathematics are true by convention. If, in particular, 'numbers exist' and
discourse are 'odd7.The form of the argument is a straightforward circle: a principle 'sets exist' are true by convention, then considerations of dispensability or indis-
P (that there is something wrong with locutions which occur only in philosophical pensability are iwelevant.
discourse) is advanced; many supporting examples are given for the principle P This 'conventionalist' position founders, however, as soon as the convention-
(is. of philosophical statements and questions which are allegedly 'odd', 'queer', alist is asked to become specific about details, Exactly how is the notion of truth,
etc.); but it turns out that these supporting examples are supporting examples only as applied to sentences which quantify over abstract entities, to be defmed in
terms of the notion of convention? Even assuming that some mathematical sent-
if the principle P is assumed. I do not deny that, historically, many philosophical
statements and arguments have contained (and in some cases, essentially depended ences are 'true by convention7, in the sense of being immediately true by
upon) locutions which are 'queer' by any standard. What I claim is that there is convention, and that these could be listed, the conventionalist still requires
nothing linguistidy 'queer7 about general existence questions ('Do numbers some notion of implication in order to handle those truths of mathematics
exist?', 'Do material objects exist?') p e se,
~ nor about general questions of justifica- which are not, on any view, immediately conventional - i.e. which require
tion or entitlement ('What entitles us to believe that material objects exist?'), proof. But the notion of implication (validity of the conditional) is one which
either. (Yet these latter questions are rejected, and by just the circular reasoning requires set theory to define, as we have seen; thus conventionalism, even if
just described, in John L. Austin's book Sense and Sensibilia, for example; and I correct, presupposes quantification over abstract entities, as something intelligi-
am s m many philosophers would similarly reject the former questions.) ble apart from the notion of a convention; mathematical truth ends up being
So far I have argued that there is no reason to classify such assertions as explained as truth by virtue of immediate convention and mathematics - an
'nunabers exist' and 'sets exist' as linguistically deviant, apart from a philosophical explanation which is trivially correct (apart from the important question of just
principle which appears completely misguided. Moreover, there is an easy way to how large the conventional element in mathematics really is). Moreover, if the
bypw this question completely. Even if some philosophers would reject the conventionalist is not careful, his theory of mathematical truth may easily end up
by being in conflict with results of mathematics itself - in particular, with
sentence 'numbers exist' as somehow not in the normal language, still, 'numbers II Giide17stheorem. However, discussion of this topic would lead us tao far afield;
exht with the plapmty -' is admitted to be non-deviant (and even true) for many
values of '-'. For example, 'numbers exist with the property of being prime and for now I shall simply dismiss conventionalism on the ground that no one has
p t e r than L &y non-deviant and true. Then, if it should indeed be I
been able to state the alleged view in a form which is at all precise and which
the case that 'numbers exist' simpliciter is not in the language, we could aSways
I does not immediately collapse.
bring it into the language by simply introducing it as a new speech-form, with the A third reason that philosophers might once have given for rejecting idispens
accompanying stipulation that 'numbem existyis to be true if and only if there is a abity arguments is the following: around the turn of the century a number of
condition '-' such that 'numbers exist with the propsty -' is true. philosophers claimed that various entities presupposed by scientific and common
Whst this amounts to is this. if the mtmce -
sense diecourse even, in the caw of some of these philosophers, mamid objects
tkmdves - were merely 'useful fictions', or that we can not, at any rate, pmiily
(I) (3)(xisanumber.xisprime.x> 10'') kmw that they are more thiun 'useful fictions' (and w, we may as well say that that
is what they are). This 'fictionalistic' philosophy seems presently to tohave disap-
(i.e. the sentence so symbolized)is in the language, while peared; but it is newwry to consider it here for a moment, if only became it
repments the most direct possible rejection of the probative f m of indispensa-
(2) (3x) (x isa number) bility arguments. For the fictionalist says, in su- 'YB,oertgini concepts -
merialo b j j number, set, etc. - are indisqxndiq but m, thad bas M, tend-
(i-e. 'numbers &') is not in the language, then ordinary language is nat to show that entities corresponding to &om mmxpts d y & It d y dwws
'deductively dd': for (2) is deducible from (1) in m d a r d logic (by the themm that those "entities~~ are usefirlfictwn~,'
Philosophy of Logic
Mathematical Objects
not an analysis of meaning but a persuasive redefinition. The worst argument of all,
If fictionalism has been rejected by present-day philosophers of science and however, was the one which ran as follows: 'If you do admit the demon hypothesis as
epistemologists, this appears to have been in part for bad reasons. The fictionalists a logical possibility, then you will be doomed to utter scepticism; for you will never
regarded the following as a logical possibility: that there might not in fact be able to offer any reason to say that it is false'. In case anyone needs to hear a reply
be electrons (or whatever), but that our experiences might be as ifthere were to this claim, that verificationism and verificationism alone can save us all from the
actually electrons (or whatever). According to the verificationism popular since the bogey of scepticismhere is one: if the demon hypotheses is so constructed as to lead
late 19206, this is meaaitlgh: if p is a proposition which it would be logically to exactly the same testable consequences as the more plausible system of hypo&-
impossible to verify, then p does not represent so much as a logical possibility. But m chat we actually believe (or to the same testable consequences as any system of
on this issue the fictionalists were surely right and the verificationists wrong: it hypotheses that rational men would find more plausible), then it is not logically
may be absurd, or crazy, or silly, or totally irrational to believe that, e.g. we are dl false, but it is logically impossible that it should ever be rational to believe it. For
disembodied spirits under the thought control of some powerful intelligence w h w rationality requires that when two hypotheses HI,H2 I d to the m e testable
chief purpose is to deceive us into thinking that there is a material world; but it is predictions (either at all times, or at the present), and HI is a prrprrorj much morc
not logically impossible. This is not an essay on verificationism; but it is appropriate plausible than Hz, then HI should be given the preference over H2.If, in particular,
to say in passing that all of the verificationist arguments were bad arguments. The Hi has been accepted, and all hypotheses aprimimore plausible than HI have led to
chief argument was, of course, to contend that 'material objects exist' means a false prediction, then we should not give up HI merely because m e o n e confronts
something to the effect that under certain circumstances we tend to have certain us with a logicalpossibiliry of its being false. (This is roughly Newton's 'rule 4' in
experiences; but all attempts to mrry out the programme of actually supplying a Principia.)
reduction of material object language to 'sense-datum' language have failed utterly, But, it may be asked, 'Is there really such a thing as a prdori plausibility?' The
and today it seems almost certainly the case that no such reduction can be carried answer is that it is easily shown that all possible inductive logics depend implicitly
out. Given P large body of theory T, containing bath 'sense-datum' sentences and or explicitly on this: an a priori ordering of hypotheses on the basis of 'simplicity',
'thing sentenm' (assuming, for the sake of charity, that a '&turn7 language or on the basis of the kinds of predicates they contain, or of the form of the laws
could d y be constructed), one could say what 'sense-datum' sentences are they propose, or some other basis. T o refuse to make any a dGciSiOnS as to
logically implied by T, to be sure; but this does not mean that the thingentenas which hypotheses are more or less plausible is just to commit oneself to never
in T(much less in 'the language' considered apart from any particular theory) must making any inductive extrapolation from past experience at &, for at any given
be individually equivalent to sense-datum sentences in any reasonable sense of time infinitely many mutually incompatible hypotheses are each compatible with
'quivalent'. Another argument was a species of openquestion argument: 'What any finite amount of data, so that if we ever declare that a hypothesis has been
more does it mean to say that material objects exist, than that under suchandauch '~nfirmed',it is not because all other hypotheses have been ruled out, but bemuse
conditions we tend to have such-and-such experiences?' But the openquation all the remaining hypotheses are rejected as too implausible even though they
argument presupposes the success of phenomenalistic reduction. If you have a agree with and even predict the evidence - i.e. at some point hyaothescra must be
translation 9 of a thing sentence S into phenomenalistic language, then it is well rejected on a priolr' grounds if any hypothesis is ever to be accepted at all. Again,
and gsod to ask 'What more does S mean than S?', but you must not ask thk the sceptic will object, 'How do you know the demon hypothesis is less plausible
rhetorical q u d o n unless you have constructed S'. Another play was to my: than the normal hypothesis?' But the answer is that to accept a plwglb'ility
'Pstudo-hypotheses, like the one about the demon, have only pictwe mizniag'. ordering is neither to make a judgement of empirical fact nor to state a themem
Besides repxsenhg an objectionable form of argument (namely, assuming the of deductive logic; it is to take a methodological s t d . One can d y say wh&m
point at isme and explaining your opponents' propensity to error the demon hyporhesis is 'crazy' or not if one has taka such a 8tand; I repm the
), this eontention is just fklse.The 'demon hypothesis' is not just a stand I I v e taken (and, speaking as one who has taken this st.imd, I d: 4
Mise tlm h ; r p to woke m e 'pictures in the head'; it is a grammatid sentence the stand d rational men take, implicitly or explicitly). In sunq we 4.131e
is oae we can offer free translations of; it is subject to lingujstic out' the demon hypothesis without playing fast and hose with the m t h of
we can M w 3 e other statements from it and a h say what other impossibility or with the notion of meanin
sizkmmts inrpfy it; we am say whether it is linguistically appropriate or inap hve taken a stand according to
p m p h in a 8;- amtext, and whether a disaturse colltaining it is ling&AcaflB the nwmal hypothesis, and th
@or d d t . The v e r i f a t i m k ~w d d retort: 'It doesn't follow it has ma* (because of the way the demm
*-But they w&d j l l s t b e m g , forthis is justwhat meaningis: beingmean- (hypo&esis) is true, it cannot be ratio& to believe it
ingfui is being m&xt m trgkinds of recursive ~ o r m a t i o n s and , to txmin f&wing maxim of rationality: h not Meve Hi if all
kinds of &ties; we mngr mt kmw much more about the matter dtrvl that today, for by HI are accounted for also by Hz,a d Hzis marc p*bk dun Hr). k t ifit
but we know m u & to h o w that what the vcrificntionists w m propounding wag
430 Mathatical Objects
is a logical truth (relative to the above maxim of rationality) that it would always be
I Philosophy of Logic 431
know that they are useful fictions. But neither move is satisfactory. Inquirers not
irrational to believe the demon hypothesis, then that is enough; if we can justify precommitted to the Catholic Church do not agree that Thornistic metaphysics is
rejecting it, we need not feel compelled to go further and try to show that it does a superior road to truth than modem science; and scepticism only reduces to a
not represent even a logical possibility. futile and silly demand that a deductive (or some kind of a priori) justification be
Another fashionable way of rejecting fictionalism has its roots in instrumental- given for the basic standards of inductive inquiry, or else that they be abandoned.
ism rather than in verificationism. One encounters, for example, somewhat the Moreover, there is something especially pathetic about the sceptical version of
following line of reasoning: to ask whether statements are 'true' cannot be fictionalism; for Vaihinger and his followers in the philosophy of 'As-If' did not
separated from asking whether it is rational to accept those statements (so far, so doubt that science will lead to (approximately) correct prediction, and thereby
good), since it is rational to acceptp is twe just in case it is rational to acceptp. But they did accept induction at one point (notwithstanding the lack of a deductive
the end purpose of our whole 'conceptual system' is just the prediction and control justification), although they refused to believe that science leads to tnre theories,
of experience (or that plus 'simplicity', whatever that is). The fictionalist concedes and thereby rejected induction (or the hypothetideductive method, which Mill
that the conceptual system of material objects (or whatever) leads to successful correctly regarded as the most powerful method of the inductive sciences) at
prediction (or as successful as we have been able to manage to date) and that it is as another point. Why can we never know that scientific theories are true? Because,
simple as we have been able to manage to date. But these are just the factors on the fictionalist said, we can give no deductive proof that they are true, even
which rational acceptance depends; so it is rational to accept our conceptual assuming all possible observational knowledge. But neither can we give a deduct-
system, and rational to call the propositions that make it up 'true' (or 'as true as ive proof that the sun will rise tomorrow! The fictionalist was thus a half-hearted
anything is7, in Anthony Quinton's happy phrase, since we always reserve the sceptic; he chose to accept induction partially (as leading to successful prediction
right to change our minds). of experience), but not totally (as leading to true belief about things).
Now, there is unquestionably some insight in this retort to fictionalism. Ele- While I agree so far with the instrumentalist strategy of argument, I am deeply
mentary as the point may be, it is correct to remind the fictionalist that we cannot disturbed by one point; the premise that the purpose of science is prediction of
separate the grounds which make it rational to accept a proposition p from the experience (or that plus 'simplicity', where simplicity is some kind of a funny aim-
grounds which make it rational to accept p is W . I myself dislike talk of in-itself and not a rubric for a large number of factors affecting our judgement of
simplicity, because simplicity in any measurable sense (e.g. Iength of the expres- probable lruth). This premise makes it easy to refute the fictionalist: for if there is
sions involved, or number of logical connectives, or number of argument places of no difference between believing p and believing that p leads to successful predic-
the predicates involved) is only one of the factors affecting the judgements of tion (at least when p is a whole conceptual system), then fictionalism immediately
relative pltausibility that scientis~and rational men actually make, and by no collapses. But this is just vdcationism again, except that now 'the unit of
means the most important one. But this is not a crucial point; we have only to
recognize that the inmwnentalist is using the word simplicity to stand for a
complicated matter depending on many factors, notwithstanding some misleading
connotations the word may have. The fictionalist concedes that predicative power
and 'simplicity' (i.e. overall plausibility in comparison with rival hypotheses, as
meaning is the whole conceptual system'. It is hard to believe that there is such
a thing as 'the aim of science' - there are many aims of many scientists; and it is
just not the case that all scientists are primarily interested in prediction. Some
scientists are primarily interested in, for example, discovering certain facts: about
radio stars, or genes, or mesons, or what have you. They want rmccessful predic-
scientists and rational men a c t d y judge these matters) are the hallmarks of a tions in order to confirm their theories; they do not want theories in order to
good theory, and that they make it rational to accept a theory, at least 'for scientific obtain the predictions, which are in some cases of not the slightest interest in
purposes'. But then - and it is the good feature of the instrumentalist strategy to themselves, but of interest only because they tend to establish the truth or falsity
press this devastating question home to the fictionalist - what f i r t h reasons I of some theory. A h , it is just not the that simplicity is a thing that all
could one want before one regarded it as rational to Believe a theory? If the very scientists value as an end in iw,numy scientists only care about simplicity
things that makes the fictionalist.regard material objects, etc. as 'useful fictions' do 1
~ U ~ and B C when it is evidence of truth. At bottom the d y relevant differeace
not make it rational to believe the material object 'conceptual system', what could between the fobwing two statements:
make it rational to believe anything?
Historidy, fictionaks split into two camps in the face of this sort of question. I (3) The iiim of science is successful prediction
A theo1og;id fictionalist litre D u b maintained that Thomistic metaphysics (and
metaphysics alone) could establish propositions about reality as true; science could and
only show that p~)pc&bns are useful for prediction and systematizatian
of data. A sceptical ktionalist Eke Hans Vaihinger maintained, on the other hand, (4) An aim of some scientists is to know whether or not it is trut drat mesolls
that nothing could establi$h that, e.g. m a t d objects really exist; we can only behave in such-and-such a way
432 Mathematical Objects Philosophy of Logic
beside the incredible pomposity of (3) ('the aim of science' indeed!), is that (3) is Again, we discussed very briefly the interesting topic of conventionalism. Even
couched in oba-vation language. But why should the aim of science, if there is if the conventionalist view has never been made very plausible (or even clear), it
such a thing, or even the aims of all scientists be statable in observation language raises fascinating issues. The question of to what extent we might revise our basic
any more than the content of science is expressible in observation language? Surely logical principles, as we have had to revise some of our basic geometrical principles
this is just a hangover f h m reductionism! in mathematical physics, is an especially fascinating one. Today, the tendency
In sum, fictionalism has on the whole been rejected for a bad reason: because: among philosophers is to assume that in no sense does logic itself have an
verificationism has d e the perfectly sound and elementary distinction between empirical foundation. I believe that this tendency is wrong; but this issue too
truth of scientific theory and truth of its okrvational consequences unpopular, has had to be avoided rather than discussed in the present section. My purpose has
and thereby d i m i d just the point - the apparent gap between the two - that been to give some idea of the many-layered complexity which one encounters in
worried the fictionalists. But, as we have also sften, there is a rejoinder to attacking even one part of the philosophy of logic; but I hope I have not left the
fictionaliwn that does not depend on rcductionist views about either the content ' impression that the part discussed in this chapter is all there is.
or the 'aim'of science. The rejoinder is simply that the very factors that make it i
rational to accept a thmry 'for scientific purposes' also make it rational to believe
it, at least in the sense in which one ever 'believes' a scientific theory - as an Notes
approximation to the truth which can probably be bettered, and not as a final
truth. F i t i o d i s m fails because (Duhem to the contrary) it could not exhibit a First published by Harper and Row in 1971. First published in Great Britain by Allen &
better method for fixing our belief than the scientific method, and because Unwh in 1972.
(Vaihinger to the contrary) the absence of a deductive justification for the scien- 1 This was shown by Tarski. For a semi-popular exposition see 'The semantic conception
tific method in no way shows that it is not rational to accept it. of truth' in H. Feigl and W. Sellars (eds), Readings in PhilosophicalAnalysis (New York),
pp. 52-84.
At this point we have considered the rejoinder to indispensabilityarguments, i.e. 2 A is said to imply 3,just in case the conditional (A 3 B) with A as antecedent and 3 as
that it might be indispemable to believe p but that p might none the less really be consequent is valid. In short, 'implication is validity of the conditional'.
false, and we have mjccted this rejoinder, not for the usual verificationist or 3 Here is a sketch of the proof of this assertion: suppose for example, N = 2 and
inrmmentdlist reagons, which m to rest on false doctrines, but because it is introduce (temporarily) symbols 'a' and '6' for the two individuals assumed to exist.
silly to a p thPt a rmson for believing that p warrants accepting$ in all scientific Rewrite each sentence (x) Px as a conjunction Pa. Pb and each sentence (3x)Px as a
cimmt~oe$and thon to d d 'but even m it is not goo& enough'. Such a disjunction Pa V Pb. Thus every sentence S of the language is transformed into a
judgment could only be made if one accepted a a-afls-scientificmethod as superior sentence S without quantif~ers.There are only finitely many atomic sentences (assum-
to the scientificmethod;but this philosopher, at leetst, has no interest in doing that. ing the number of primitive predicates in the language is finite). Ifthe number of these:
atomic sentences is n, then the number dtruth functions of them that be can written is
Z2".One can easily construct 22"quantifier-free sentences which correspond to these 2r
9 Unconsidered Complications truth functions; then any sentence built up out of the given n atomic sentences by means
of truth fmctional connectives will be logically equivalent to one of these sentences
Ti, Tz, ...,T r . Moreover, if S EZ Ti is a theorem of propwitional calculus, then it is
In this chapter, I have c h m to go into detail on one group of questions - those w i l y seen that S E (h,b)(a # b - T,) is true in every two-element universe, and hence
having to do with the indiqensab'&ty of quantification over abstract entities such 'the number of individuals is two' (tbirs may be symbolized
as sets - at the cost of having to neglect many others. One group of questions (b,b)(a# b - (x)(x=aVx= 8 . ) ) ) implies S E (3a,b)(a#be Z).Thus, if we let
which I might have considered has to do with the existence of what I might call SI = '(5, b)(a # b . TI)', Sz= '(h,b)(a # 6. T2)',...,then (I) if the number of

'equivalent onsbutions' in mathematics. For example, n u m b can be ma- individuds is m, then every mmce S is equivalent in truth-due to ont of the
s t r u d from s& in more than me way. Moreover, the notion of set is isthe & sentences Sl,Sz, ...,SF; and (2) the sentence S r S , (fm&e m - i ) is itstlf
notion which a n be Mien as &E; we have already indicated that p n d i d v e set implied liy the statement that the number of individds is two. The same idea woks for
theory, at kas, is in m inter-translatable with tiilk of formulas and truth; any finite n u m b of individuaI5.
and evm the impredici~tivenot5011 of set adrnits of various equivalents: fm 4 Snictly~~th$isonlytrueifwerequire~fbeacmntitltunrsfuvraionfrom
space-points to reals. However, this property of continuity an be cqmsd w k h ~ t
example, i n d of idesl%ifyhgfunctions with czrtain SCB, as I did, I might bave
identified sets with d hcrians. My own view is that none of dxse in the.text w l y to simplify the dkcwsim.
approaches should be rqprdai as 'more true' than any other; the & of
m&mtidfkct admits of nuny 'aquivrzfent c b c r i p h ' : but dearly a wh& %Ixmmcmmt'. I have coismj thEo
essay could have been devoted to this.
pairs of points and numbers. The term 'measurement' is a hangover from the days of
opaatio&, when it was supposed that measurement was prior to definition, rather
than vice versa.
6 To 'quantify over' sets means to employ such expressions as 'for every set x' and 'there
is a &t x such that'.

( w h a t Numbers Could Not ~ e ' )

Paul Benacerraf

The attention of the mathematician focuses primarily upon mathematical structure,

and his intellectual delight arises (in part) from seeing that a given theory exhibits
such and such a structure, from seeing how one structure is "modelled" in another,
or in exhibiting some new structure and showing how it relates to previously studied
ones. . . .But.. .t!he mathematician is satisfied so long as he has some "entities" or
"objects" (or "sets" or "numbers" or "functions" or ' c ~ or" "pointg") to work
with, and he does not inquire into their inner c W e r or ontological status.
The philosophical logician, on the other hand, is more sensitive to matters of
ontology and will be especially interested in the kind or kinds of entities there are
actually.. ..He will not be satisfied with being told merely that such and such
entities exhibit such and such a mathematical structure. He will wish to inquire
more deeply into what these entities are, how they relate to other entities.. ..Also he
will wish to ask whether the entity dealt with is sari g d or whether it is in some
sense reducible to (or constructible in terms of) other, perhaps more fundamental
entities. (R. M. Martin, Intension and Dcnkion)

We can.. .by using.. .[our]. ..definitions say what is meant by

'the number 1 + 1 belongs to the concept F'
and then, using this, give the sense of the expression
'the number 1 + 1 + 1belongs to thc concept F'
and so m; bur we am never.. .decide by means of our definitions whether any
-apt has the number Julius Cacsal. belonging ta it, or whether that s ~ m ef a m i l k
mguesor of G d is a number or not. (G, Frcg;e, Tke F&tiom ofArithtit)

1 The Education
Imagine Ernie and Johnny, sons of two militant lagicists - children who have not
been taught in the vulgar (old-fashioned) way but for whom the pedagogical order
of things has been the epistemological order. They did not learn straight off how
to ~ . of beginning their mathematid training with a.&ht~~etic
t Instead