Mathematical Pluralism


Edward N. Zalta


Noûs, 58(2) (2024): 306–332. published open access online.


Mathematical pluralism can take one of three forms: (1) every consistent mathematical theory consists of truths about its own domain of individuals and relations; (2) every mathematical theory, consistent or inconsistent, consists of truths about its own (possibly uninteresting) domain of individuals and relations; and (3) the principal philosophies of mathematics are each based upon an insight or truth about the nature of mathematics that can be validated. (1) includes the multiverse approach to set theory. (2) helps us to understand the significance of the distinguished non-logical individual and relation terms of even inconsistent theories. (3) is a metaphilosophical form of mathematical pluralism and hasn't been discussed in the literature. In what follows, I show how the analysis of theoretical mathematics in object theory exhibits all three forms of mathematical pluralism.

[Author's preprint available online in PDF]