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Mathematics Analogies

Project description

Filling gaps in the analogies between mathematics and metaphysics

A priori knowledge is essentially the opposite of hindsight - it is knowing something without the need for experience. Philosophically, it is related to the idea of universal truths and metaphysical realism, the philosophy that the world is as it is independently of how humans perceive it. These concepts also play into discussions of a priori domains including ethics and religion. Analogies with mathematics, yet another a priori domain, are increasingly used to explain, advance or corroborate various views. The EU-funded MathematicsAnalogies project will draw on expertise in mathematical philosophy to fill important gaps in current debates.


This project investigates how mathematics analogies impact metaphysical realism-antirealism. The overarching goal is to develop a systematic account of the potentials and limits of using mathematics as a model for other a priori domains, thus responding to the rapidly increasing literature exploiting structural parallels between mathematics and other a priori domains. In current ontological, semantic, and epistemic debates, mathematics frequently functions as a model for other a priori domains. Metaethicists in particular have started to use local structural parallels between mathematics and morality in order to corroborate particular metaethical views, but mathematics has also been argued to share relevant features with the domains of logic, modality, and religion. The 'mathematics analogies' employed in those arguments share a common form: a local analogy between mathematics and another domain is identified, based on which a global conclusion is drawn about one or both of the domains. What is completely missing in these debates, however, is a discussion of (a) the plausibility of the analogies in light of their mathematical background assumptions, (b) an adequate methodology for analogical reasoning about a priori domains, and (c) the prospects of developing a unified framework for all a priori domains. This is the gap this project is going to fill. Conducting this project as a Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow at the best European institution for mathematical philosophy, the MCMP in Munich, will establish me firmly as an independent scholar in my field and thus, help me reach my goal of attaining a permanent academic position.


Net EU contribution
€ 174 806,40
80539 Muenchen

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Bayern Oberbayern München, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 174 806,40