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Vol 23 No 6 June/July 2018

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Knowledge, Cause, and Abstract Objects

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Colin CheyneDepartment of Philosophy, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

ISBN13: 9781402000515
ISBN: 1402000510
Published: October 2001
Publisher: Kluwer Law International
Format: Hardback
Price: Out of print

According to Platonists, entities such as numbers, sets, propositions and properties are abstract objects. But abstract objects lack causal powers and a location in space and time, so how we could ever come to know of the existence of such impotent and remote objects? In this text, Colin Cheyne presents a systematic and detailed account of this epistemological objection to the Platonist doctrine that abstract objects exist and can be known. Since mathematics has such a central role in the acquisition of scientific knowledge, he concentrates on mathematical Platonism. He also concentrates on our knowledge of what exists, and argues for a causal constraint on such existential knowledge. Finally, he exposes the weaknesses of recent attempts by Platonists to account for our supposed Platonic knowledge.

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Platonism and Causality; Beliefs and Facts; Beliefs and Causes; The Case for a Causal Connection; Is a Causal Connection Necessary for Knowledge?; Other Theories of Knowledge; Existence Claims and Causality; The Burden of Proof; Platonic Knowledge by Intuition; Apriorism; Indispensability and Platonic Knowledge; Problems with Prolifigate Platonism.