Recent debates about mathematical ontology are guided by the view that Platonism's prospects depend on mathematics' explanatory role in science. If mathematics plays an explanatory role, and in the right kind of way, this carries ontological commitment to mathematical objects. Conversely, the assumption goes, if mathematics merely plays a representational role then our world-oriented uses of mathematics fail to commit us to mathematical objects. I argue that it is a mistake to think that mathema…

Read moreRecent debates about mathematical ontology are guided by the view that Platonism's prospects depend on mathematics' explanatory role in science. If mathematics plays an explanatory role, and in the right kind of way, this carries ontological commitment to mathematical objects. Conversely, the assumption goes, if mathematics merely plays a representational role then our world-oriented uses of mathematics fail to commit us to mathematical objects. I argue that it is a mistake to think that mathematical representation is necessarily ontologically innocent and that there is an argument from mathematics' representational capacity to Platonism. Given that it is common ground between the Platonist and nominalist that mathematics plays a representational role in science, this representationalist argument is to be preferred over the explanatory, or enhanced, indispensability argument.