Knowledge, Cause, and Abstract Objects

Causal Objections to Platonism

  • Colin Cheyne

Part of the The Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science book series (WONS, volume 67)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Colin Cheyne
    Pages 1-10
  3. Colin Cheyne
    Pages 11-22
  4. Colin Cheyne
    Pages 23-35
  5. Colin Cheyne
    Pages 36-53
  6. Colin Cheyne
    Pages 80-93
  7. Colin Cheyne
    Pages 94-122
  8. Colin Cheyne
    Pages 123-130
  9. Colin Cheyne
    Pages 131-144
  10. Colin Cheyne
    Pages 145-155
  11. Colin Cheyne
    Pages 156-171
  12. Colin Cheyne
    Pages 172-193
  13. Colin Cheyne
    Pages 194-195
  14. Back Matter
    Pages 196-240

About this book


According to platonists, entities such as numbers, sets, propositions and properties are abstract objects. But abstract objects lack causal powers and a location in space and time, so how could we ever come to know of the existence of such impotent and remote objects? In Knowledge, Cause, and Abstract Objects, Colin Cheyne presents the first systematic and detailed account of this epistemological objection to the platonist doctrine that abstract objects exist and can be known. Since mathematics has such a central role in the acquisition of scientific knowledge, he concentrates on mathematical platonism. He also concentrates on our knowledge of what exists, and argues for a causal constraint on such existential knowledge. Finally, he exposes the weaknesses of recent attempts by platonists to account for our supposed platonic knowledge.
This book will be of particular interest to researchers and advanced students of epistemology and of the philosophy of mathematics and science. It will also be of interest to all philosophers with a general interest in metaphysics and ontology.


Epistemology Plato The Philosophy of Mathematics knowledge metaphysics ontology proposition science will

Authors and affiliations

  • Colin Cheyne
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2001
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-481-5836-2
  • Online ISBN 978-94-015-9747-0
  • Series Print ISSN 1566-659X
  • Buy this book on publisher's site