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The Weak Objectivity of Mathematics and Its Reasonable Effectiveness in Science

  • Daniele MolininiEmail author
Original Paper


Philosophical analysis of mathematical knowledge are commonly conducted within the realist/antirealist dichotomy. Nevertheless, philosophers working within this dichotomy pay little attention to the way in which mathematics evolves and structures itself. Focusing on mathematical practice, I propose a weak notion of objectivity of mathematical knowledge that preserves the intersubjective character of mathematical knowledge but does not bear on a view of mathematics as a body of mind-independent necessary truths. Furthermore, I show how that the successful application of mathematics in science is an important trigger for the objectivity of mathematical knowledge.


Mathematical knowledge Objectivity Platonism Nominalism Applicability of mathematics 



I would like to thank one anonymous reviewer for helpful comments. This work was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology through the FCT Investigator Programme (Grant Nr. IF/01354/2015).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author reports no real or perceived vested interests that relate to this article that could be construed as a conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculdade de CiênciasUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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