### Philosophy in the EMS Newsletter

#### Posted by David Corfield

The March 2010 edition of the Newsletter of the European Mathematical Society is out, and it includes a short piece by me on realism in mathematics. I was invited to contribute to a series on Platonism by Urs Persson, a series which includes Brian Davies’ ‘Let Platonism Die’ (June 2007), Reuben Hersh’s ‘On Platonism’ and Barry Mazur’s ‘Mathematical Platonism and its Opposites’ (June 2008), and David Mumford’s ‘Why I am a Platonist’ and Philip Davis’ ‘Why I Am A (Moderate) Social Constructivist’ (December 2008). Ulf has himself a riposte to Davies – Let Platonism Live!. I decided to drop the term ‘Platonism’ since I prefer to focus on the issue of the nature of the constraints acting on mathematicians, and don’t wish to tie this wholly to the question of the existence of abstract entities.

Posted at March 16, 2010 12:16 PM UTC
## Re: Philosophy in the EMS Newsletter

Thanks!

My ideason the background of “platonism” in mathematics, with some art and poetry. Barry Mazur remarked on that: “somehow I would have balanced that list (of “platonic” ideas in math, TR) with “things sought that turned out not to exist” (e.g., the squaring of the circle, trisection of a general angle by Euclidean construction methods) as further hints that a platonic mentality seems to be very energetically at work—in the minds of many mathematicians.” Maybe one could wonder about “platonic mirages” like Hilberts proof theory program.