In Realistic Rationalism, Jerrold Katz develops a new philosophical position integrating realism and rationalism. Realism here means that the objects of study in mathematics and other formal sciences are abstract; rationalism means that our knowledge of them is not empirical. Katz uses this position to meet the principal challenges to realism. In exposing the flaws in criticisms of the antirealists, he shows that realists can explain knowledge of abstract objects without supposing we have causal contact with them, that numbers are determinate objects, and that the standard counterexamples to the abstract/concrete distinction have no force. He develops a rationalist and non-naturalist account of philosophical knowledge and argues that it is preferable to contemporary naturalist and empiricist accounts.
About the Author
Jerrold J. Katz is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
"Engaging and provocative."
—A.W. Moore, Times Literary Supplement
"This book is certainly going to count as one of the most important contributions to the philosophy of mathematics of the last decades."
—Paolo Mancosu, Department of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley