No Reservations Required? Defending Anti-Nominalism

Document Type


Publication Date


Published In

Studia Logica


In a 2005 paper, John Burgess and Gideon Rosen offer a new argument against nominalism in the philosophy of mathematics. The argument proceeds from the thesis that mathematics is part of science, and that core existence theorems in mathematics are both accepted by mathematicians and acceptable by mathematical standards. David Liggins (2007) criticizes the argument on the grounds that no adequate interpretation of “acceptable by mathematical standards” can be given which preserves the soundness of the overall argument. In this discussion I offer a defense of the Burgess-Rosen argument against Liggins’s objection. I show how plausible versions of the argument can be constructed based on either of two interpretations of mathematical acceptability, and I locate the argument in the space of contemporary anti-nominalist views.