Should We Get Real about Ethics and Maths?

The aim of this project is to make progress in the realism/anti-realism debate in each of ethics and philosophy of mathematics by pursuing potentially fruitful analogies and parallels between metaethics and philosophy of mathematics.

Specifically, the project will focus on the following three issues and research questions:

  1. Realism and Fictionalism: Can useful progress be made in the realism/anti-realism debate in each of ethics and philosophy of mathematics by exploring similarities and differences between recent work on metaethical and mathematical fictionalism?

  2. Indispensability Arguments: Can recent work on indispensability arguments in philosophy of mathematics shed light on attempts to use such arguments in ethics, and vice versa, and what implications does this have for the attempt to generate ontological commitment to irreducible ethical facts and truths on the one hand, and mathematical facts and truths on the other?

  3. Thick Concepts and Mixed Mathematical-Empirical Claims: Can recent work on thick concepts in metaethics inform the recent debate in philosophy of mathematics concerning the apparent expressive indispensability of mathematics in our descriptions of empirical phenomena, and vice versa?

 

Project team: 
  • Project Leader: Dr Debbie Roberts
  • Principal Collaborator: Dr Mary Leng (York)
  • Other Collaborators: Prof Gregory Currie (York), Prof James Lenman (Sheffield), Prof David Liggins (Manchester), Prof Mike Ridge (Edinburgh)
Project duration: 
3 years