The Dennes Room

Event Detail

Thu Dec 13, 2018
Howison Library, 4–6 PM
Graduate Research Colloquium
James Walsh (UC Berkeley)
Absolute Generality and Mathematical Freedom

Is it possible to quantify over absolutely everything? Absolutists claim that it is, and relativists claim that it is not. A common criticism of relativism is that relativism cannot be articulated by its own lights. Don’t relativists quantify over absolutely everything when they say that it is impossible to do so?

I will argue that an analogous problem plagues absolutists. In my talk I will (i) introduce an attractive philosophical principle, the principle of mathematical freedom and (ii) argue that absolutists cannot articulate their position without violating this principle.