Penelope Maddy

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Penelope Maddy
Born (1950-07-04) July 4, 1950 (age 73)
naturalized Platonism),[1] mathematical naturalism

Penelope Maddy (born 4 July 1950) is an American philosopher. Maddy is Emerita UCI Distinguished Professor of

set-theoretic realism) and mathematical naturalism

Education and career

Maddy received her Ph.D. from

University of Illinois, Chicago before joining Irvine in 1987.[3]

She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998.[4] The German Mathematical Society awarded her a Gauss Lectureship in 2006.

Philosophical work

Maddy's early work, culminating in Realism in Mathematics, defended Kurt Gödel's position that mathematics is a true description of a mind-independent realm that we can access through our intuition. However, she suggested that some mathematical entities are in fact concrete, unlike, notably, Gödel, who assumed all mathematical objects are abstract. She suggested that sets can be causally efficacious, and in fact share all the causal and spatiotemporal properties of their elements. Thus, when one sees three cups on a table, one also sees the set. She used contemporary work in cognitive science and psychology to support this position, pointing out that just as at a certain age we begin to see objects rather than mere sense perceptions, there is also a certain age at which we begin to see sets rather than just objects.

In the 1990s, she moved away from this position, towards a position described in Naturalism in Mathematics. Her "naturalist" position, like

, she suggests that many of these puzzles arise merely because of the application of language outside its proper domain of significance.

She has been dedicated to understanding and explaining the methods that


Selected publications

See also


  1. ^ Mark Balaguer, "Against (Maddian) naturalized Platonism", Philosophia Mathematica 2 (1994), 97–108.
  2. ^ Penelope Maddy at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^
  4. ^ Faculty Academy Members, University of California, Irvine, retrieved 2019-01-17
  5. ^ "The stuff of proof". Archived from the original on 2017-04-11. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
  6. .
  7. ^ Frápolli, María J. (2001). "Review: Penelope Maddy, Naturalism in Mathematics". Modern Logic. 8 (3–4): 113–116.

External links