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Epistemological Objections to Platonism



Many philosophers posit abstract entities – where something is abstract if it is acausal and lacks spatio-temporal location. Theories, types, characteristics, meanings, values and responsibilities are all good candidates for abstractness. Such things raise an epistemological puzzle: if they are abstract, then how can we have any epistemic access to how they are? If they are invisible, intangible and never make anything happen, then how can we ever discover anything about them? In this article, I critically examine epistemological objections to belief in abstract objects offered by Paul Benacerraf, Colin Cheyne and Hartry Field.

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