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Harrison, Victoria, , . Philosophy of Religion, Fictionalism, and Religious Diversity
2010, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 68(1-3): 43-58.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: Until recently philosophy of religion has been almost exclusively focused upon the analysis of western religious ideas. The central concern of the discipline has been the concept God , as that concept has been understood within Judaeo-Christianity. However, this narrow remit threatens to render philosophy of religion irrelevant today. To avoid this philosophy of religion should become a genuinely multicultural discipline. But how, if at all, can philosophy of religion rise to this challenge? The paper considers fictionalism about religious discourse as a possible methodological standpoint from which to practice a tradition-neutral form of philosophy of religion. However, after examining some of the problems incurred by fictionalism, the paper concludes that fictionalism and religious diversity are uneasy bedfellows; which implies that fictionalism is unlikely to be the best theory to shape the practice of philosophy of religion in a multicultural context.

Comment: This paper is a great one to include as a further reading in a fictionalism unit, because it goes beyond this topic to examine its compatibility with the desire for a more multicultural philosophy of religion. It also reflects upon the discipline of philosophy of religion as a whole, which would be very interesting for the keener students. Alternatively, this could be used as a primary reading at the end of a course (that has covered fictionalism) to allow students to reflect upon the discipline of philosophy of religion as a whole.

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Leng, Mary, , . “Algebraic” Approaches to Mathematics
2009, In Otávio Bueno & Øystein Linnebo (eds.). New Waves in Philosophy of Mathematics. Palgrave Macmillan.
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Added by: Jamie Collin, Contributed by:

Summary: Surveys the opposition between views of mathematics which take mathematics to represent a independent mathematical reality and views which take mathematical axioms to define or circumscribe their subject matter; and defends the latter view against influential objections.

Comment: A very clear and useful survey text for advanced undergraduate or postgraduate courses on metaphysics or philosophy of mathematics.

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Leng, Mary, , . Mathematics and Reality
2010, Oxford University Press, USA.
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Added by: Jamie Collin, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Mary Leng offers a defense of mathematical fictionalism, according to which we have no reason to believe that there are any mathematical objects. Perhaps the most pressing challenge to mathematical fictionalism is the indispensability argument for the truth of our mathematical theories (and therefore for the existence of the mathematical objects posited by those theories). According to this argument, if we have reason to believe anything, we have reason to believe that the claims of our best empirical theories are (at least approximately) true. But since claims whose truth would require the existence of mathematical objects are indispensable in formulating our best empirical theories, it follows that we have good reason to believe in the mathematical objects posited by those mathematical theories used in empirical science, and therefore to believe that the mathematical theories utilized in empirical science are true. Previous responses to the indispensability argument have focussed on arguing that mathematical assumptions can be dispensed with in formulating our empirical theories. Leng, by contrast, offers an account of the role of mathematics in empirical science according to which the successful use of mathematics in formulating our empirical theories need not rely on the truth of the mathematics utilized.

Comment: This book presents the most developed account of mathematical fictionalism. The book, or chapters from it, would provide useful further reading in advanced undergraduate or postgraduate courses on metaphysics or philosophy of mathematics.

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