Volume 41, 2008
Philosophy of Mathematics
Isn’t the Indispensability Argument Necessarily Analogical?
Both the defenders and the challengers of the indispensability argument seem to ignore the obvious fact that it is meant to be an analogical inference. In this note, I shall draw attention to this fact so as to avoid unnecessary confusions in any future discussion of the indispensability argument. For this purpose, I shall criticize Maddy’s version of the indispensability argument. After having noted that Quinean holism does not have to be one of the necessary premises, I shall suggest alternative formulations of the indispensability argument as an analogical inference. Also, some further reflections on how to evaluate Maddy’s objections to the indispensability argument will be in due order.