•  78
    Applied Mathematics without Numbers
    Philosophia Mathematica. forthcoming.
    In this paper, I develop a "safety result" for applied mathematics. I show that whenever a theory in natural science entails some non-mathematical conclusion via an application of mathematics, there is a counterpart theory that carries no commitment to mathematical objects, entails the same conclusion, and the claims of which are true if the claims of the original theory are "correct": roughly, true given the assumption that mathematical objects exist. The framework used for proving the safety r…Read more
  •  139
    Nominalists are confronted with a grave difficulty: if abstract objects do not exist, what explains the success of theories that invoke them? In this paper, I make headway on this problem. I develop a formal language in which certain platonistic claims about properties and certain nominalistic claims can be expressed, develop a formal language in which only certain nominalistic claims can be expressed, describe a function mapping sentences of the first language to sentences of the second languag…Read more
  •  303
    In this paper, I argue that all expressions for abstract objects are meaningless. My argument closely follows David Lewis’ argument against the intelligibility of certain theories of possible worlds, but modifies it in order to yield a general conclusion about language pertaining to abstract objects. If my Lewisian argument is sound, not only can we not know that abstract objects exist, we cannot even refer to or think about them. However, while the Lewisian argument strongly motivates nominalis…Read more
  •  364
    Paraphrasing away properties with pluriverse counterfactuals
    Synthese 198 (11): 10883-10902. 2020.
    In this paper, I argue that for the purposes of ordinary reasoning, sentences about properties of concrete objects can be replaced with sentences concerning how things in our universe would be related to inscriptions were there a pluriverse. Speaking loosely, pluriverses are composites of universes that collectively realize every way a universe could possibly be. As such, pluriverses exhaust all possible meanings that inscriptions could take. Moreover, because universes necessarily do not influe…Read more