By Marsigit

Yogyakarta State University

Philosophy of mathematics, as it was elaborated by Ross D.S. (2003), is a philosophical study of the concepts and methods of mathematics. According to him, philosophy of mathematics is concerned with the nature of numbers, geometric objects, and other mathematical concepts; it is concerned with their cognitive origins and with their application to reality. Further, it addresses the validation of methods of mathematical inference. In particular, it deals with the logical problems associated with mathematical infinitude. Meanwhile,

Hersh R. (1997) thinks that Philosophy of mathematics should articulate with epistemology and philosophy of science; but virtually all writers on philosophy of mathematics treat it as an encapsulated entity, isolated, timeless, a-historical, inhuman, connected to noth¬ing else in the intellectual or material realms.

Philip Kitcher 1 indicates that the philosophy of mathematics is generally supposed to begin with Frege due to he transformed the issues constituting philosophy of mathematics. Before Frege, the philosophy of mathematics was only "prehistory." To understand Frege, we must see him as a Kantian. To understand Kant we must see his response to Newton, Leibniz, and Hume. Those three philosophers go back to Descartes and through him they back to Plato. Platos is a Pythagorean. The thread from Pythagorean to Hilbert and Godel is unbroken. A connected story from Pythagoras to the present is where the foundation came from. Although we can connect the thread of the foundation of mathematics from the earlier to the present, we found that some philosophers have various interpretation on the nature of mathematics and its epistemological foundation.

While Hilary Putnam in Hersh, R. (1997), a contemporary philosopher of mathematics, argues that the subject matter of mathe¬matics is the physical world and not its actualities, but its potentialities. According to him, to exist in mathematics means to exist potentially in the physical world. This interpretation is attractive, because in facts mathematics is meaningful, however, it is unacceptable, because it tries to explain the clear by the obscure. On the other hand, Shapiro in Linebo, O states that there are two different orientations of relation between mathematical practice and philosophical theorizing; first, we need a philosophical account of what mathematics is about, only then can we determine what qualifies as correct mathematical reasoning; the other orientation of mathematics is an autonomous science so it doesn’t need to borrow its authority from other disciplines.

On the second view 2, philosophers have no right to legislate mathematical practice but must always accept mathematicians’ own judgment. Shapiro insists that philosophy must also interpret and make sense of mathematical practice, and that this may give rise to criticism of oral practice; however, he concedes that this criticism would have to be internal to mathematical practice and take ‘as data that most of contemporary mathematics is correct’. Shapiro confesses whether mathematicians should really be regarded as endorsing philosophical theorizing will depend on what is meant by ‘accurately represents the semantic form of mathematical language’. If the notions of semantic form and truth employed in philosophical theorizing are understood in a deflationary way, it is hard to see how philosophical theorizing can go beyond mathematicians’ claim that the realist principles are literally true. On the other hand, Stefanik, 1994, argues whether the philosophy of mathematics most fruitfully pursued as a philosophical investigation into the nature of numbers as abstract entities existing in a platonic realm inaccessible by means of our standard perceptual capacities, or the study of the practices and activities of mathematicians with special emphasis on the nature of the fundamental objects that are the concern of actual mathematical research.

Contemporary, our view of mathematical knowledge 3 should fit our view of knowledge in general; if we write philosophy of mathematics, we aren't expected simultaneously to write philosophy of science and general epistemology. Hersh R. suggests that to write philosophy of mathematics alone is daunting enough; but to be adequate, it needs a connec¬tion with epistemology and philosophy of science. Philosophy of mathematics can be tested against some mathematical practices: research, application, teaching, history, and computing. In more universal atmosphere, Posy, C., (1992) states that philosophy of mathematics should involve the epistemology, ontology, and methodology of mathematics. Accordingly 4, certain aspects unique to mathematics cause its philosophy to be of particular interest: 1) abstraction - math involves abstract concepts ; 2) application - math is used by other sciences like Physics ; 3) infinity - peculiar notion specifically to pure math, yet a central concept to applied calculations . Specific events 5 caused the evolution of mathematical views in an attempt to eliminate cracks in the foundation of mathematics. The most important of these was the discovery of inconsistencies, or paradoxes, in the foundations of mathematics; this represents the starting point of the modern philosophy of mathematics.

References:

1 -----, 2003, “Mathematics, mind, ontology and the origins of number”. Retreived 2004

2Shapiro in Linnebo, Ø., 2003, “Review of Stewart Shapiro, Philosophy of Mathematics: Structure and Ontology”, Retrieved 2004 < http://www.oystein.linnebo@filosofi.uio.no>

3 Hersh, R., 1997, “What is Mathematics, Really?”, London: Jonathan Cape, p. 236

4 Posy, C., 1992, “Philosophy of Mathematics”, Retrieved 2004

5 Ibid.

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