Fictionalist Mathematical Structuralism
The main goal of the project is to establish a comprehensive approach to the philosophy of mathematics that draws on mathematical practice. The abstract character of mathematics raises difficult philosophical questions about the nature of mathematical entities (such as numbers, functions, and sets), how we have knowledge of such entities, and how they can be applied in the real world. This research project tackles such questions by integrating two perspectives on the philosophy of mathematics, viz. "mathematical structuralism" and "mathematical fictionalism". Crucially, this research will be informed and supported by interdisciplinary discussions of mathematical practice with mathematicians, mathematical scientists, and psychologists whose research focuses on mathematical cognition. Drawing on aspects of their research, this project will build a new and distinctive positive theory of the nature of mathematics. With this comprehensive theory established, the project will show how it can be deployed to make progress on long-standing problems in the philosophy of mathematics and the philosophy of science.