Friday, May 28, 2010

Befriending numbers nominalistically

I probably should've posted this sooner. On Monday I'm giving a talk at Oxford, criticizing Nathan Salmon's argument against nominalism, to be found in his recent paper in Analysis titled Numbers versus Nominalists. Feel free to pop in if you're around. Details below.

Rafal Urbaniak (Ghent University/ Gdansk University) 'Yellow card for Salmon'
Monday, 31 May, 16:30 - 18:30, Ryle Room, Faculty of Philosophy,10 Merton Street, Oxford.

Nathan Salmon (Numbers versus nominalists, Analysis 68.3:177-182,2008) argues that nominalists cannot plausibly deny the inference from(A) `there are exactly two Martian moons' to (B) `something is such that it is number two and there are exactly that many Martian moons'.He insists that the latter claim commits one to the existence ofnumbers. Salmon in effect argues that nominalism faces a rather serious challenge, for (as he claims) the inference can be denied only at the expense of giving up on higher-order logic, which is very unlikely to be an independently motivated strategy. After briefly describing Salmon's argument I will sketch a variant ofthe nominalist position on which the troublesome and apparently committing sentence is ambiguous between a statement that is derivable from (A) but non-committing, and another, which is committing but (onthe nominalist's view) not derivable from (A), even if the nominalistfinds higher-order logic a reliable source of legitimate inferences


rancido said...

Hi rafal,

a pity as I will be back to oxford only tomorrow!

Rafal Urbaniak said...

Pity, fun has been had (well, at least by me). Maybe next time.:)