Silvia de Toffoli: "Mathematical Justification – Motivations for a Fallibilist Account"

  • Date: –12:00
  • Location: Engelska parken – Eng2/1022
  • Organiser: Department of Philosophy
  • Contact person: Matti Eklund
  • Seminarium

The Higher Seminar in Theoretical Philosophy

Silvia de Toffoli, Linköping University: "Mathematical Justification – Motivations for a Fallibilist Account"

According to a widely held view in the philosophy of mathematics, direct inferential justification for mathematical propositions (that are not axioms) requires proof. I challenge this view. I argue that certain fallacious mathematical arguments considered by the relevant subjects to be correct can confer mathematical justification. But mathematical justification doesn’t come for cheap: not just any argument will do. I suggest that, in order to be successful in transmitting justification, an argument must satisfy specific standards, some of which are social.  The picture I delineate is a hybrid form of phenomenal conservatism.  Although in this talk I focus on mathematical inferential beliefs, the view on offer generalizes straightforwardly to other inferential beliefs.