more from JP Burgess / G Rosen

Single Idea 9934

[catalogued under 6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 1. Mathematical Platonism / b. Against mathematical platonism]

Full Idea

The transition from using number words purely as adjectives to using them extensively as nouns has been traced to 'around the time of Plato'.

Gist of Idea

Number words became nouns around the time of Plato


JP Burgess / G Rosen (A Subject with No Object [1997], III.C.2.a)

Book Reference

Burgess,J/Rosen,G: 'A Subject with No Object' [OUP 1997], p.228

A Reaction

[The cite Kneale and Kneale VI,2 for this] It is just too tempting to think that in fact Plato (and early Platonists) were totally responsible for this shift, since the whole reification of numbers seems to be inherently platonist.