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Hale’s argument from transitive counting
, R. Samuels, S. Shaprio
Published in Springer Science and Business Media B.V.
Volume: 198
Issue: 3
Pages: 1905 - 1933
A core commitment of Bob Hale and Crispin Wright’s neologicism is their invocation of Frege’s Constraint—roughly, the requirement that the core empirical applications for a class of numbers be “built directly into” their formal characterization. According to these neologicists, if legitimate, Frege’s Constraint adjudicates in favor of their preferred foundation—Hume’s Principle—and against alternatives, such as the Dedekind–Peano axioms. In this paper, we consider a recent argument for legitimating Frege’s Constraint due to Hale, according to which the primary empirical application of the naturals is transitive counting, or answering ‘how many’-questions using numerals. We make two claims regarding Hale’s argument. First, it fails to legitimate Frege’s Constraint in virtue of resting on unsupported and highly contentious assumptions. Secondly, even if sound, Hale’s argument would vindicate a version of Frege’s Constraint which fails to adjudicate in favor of Hume’s Principle over alternative characterizations of the naturals. © 2019, Springer Nature B.V.
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