Project Title: Wittgenstein on Mathematical Objects
Student: Joseph Kirincic ’16
Mentor: Dr. Erin Flynn
Ludwig Wittgenstein is a major figure of twentieth century Anglophone philosophy. Though many know him for his contributions to the philosophy of language, he considered his work in the philosophy of mathematics to be his primary contribution. Given the notorious difficulty of interpreting Wittgenstein’s work, his writings on mathematics remain a fruitful site of philosophical inquiry. The focus of this paper is Wittgenstein’s view of mathematical objects. While there is much debate as to what philosophical camp Wittgenstein should be assigned to, there is relatively little work in clarifying the ideas, and connections between them, that produce whatever position he holds. This paper aims to rectify this imbalance. I argue for a reading of Wittgenstein’s view of mathematical objects, paying particular attention to explicating the ideas which give rise to them as clearly as possible.