In Realistic Rationalism, Jerrold J. Katz develops a new philosophical position integrating realism and rationalism. Realism here means that the objects of study in mathematics and other formal sciences are abstract; rationalism means that our knowledge of them is not empirical. Katz uses this position to meet the principal challenges to realism. In exposing the flaws in criticisms of the antirealists, he shows that realists can explain knowledge of abstract objects without supposing we have causal contact with them, that numbers are determinate objects, and that the standard counterexamples to the abstract/concrete distinction have no force. Generalizing the account of knowledge used to meet the challenges to realism, he develops a rationalist and non-naturalist account of philosophical knowledge and argues that it is preferable to contemporary naturalist and empiricist accounts.
The book illuminates a wide range of philosophical issues, including the nature of necessity, the distinction between the formal and natural sciences, empiricist holism, the structure of ontology, and philosophical skepticism. Philosophers will use this fresh treatment of realism and rationalism as a starting point for new directions in their own research.
About the Author
Jerrold J. Katz is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
—A.W. Moore , Times Literary Supplement
—Jody Azzouni, Department of Philosophy, Tufts University
—Marcus Giaquinto, Department of Philosophy, University College London
—Palle Yourgrau, Department of Philosophy, Brandeis University
—Robert Tragesser, Class of ’43 Professor in the History and Philosophy of Science and Mathematics, Connecticut College
—Paolo Mancosu, Assistant Professor of Philosphy, University of California, Berkeley