Intuitions, naturalism, and benacerraf’s problem

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


It is likely that intuitions have something important to do with mathematical knowledge. And it is quite common for contemporary naturalists to be skeptical of the ability of intuitions to generate substantial amounts of knowledge. This chapter departs from this trend. It offers a naturalistic theory of intuitions and then uses this theory to generate an answer to Benacerraf’s epistemological problem in the philosophy of math. The upshot of the argument is that naturalists can explain the connection between intuition and mathematical knowledge; a corollary of this argument, though, is that mathematical knowledge consists, at least in some part, of a set of approximate truths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNaturalizing Logico-Mathematical Knowledge
Subtitle of host publicationApproaches from Philosophy, Psychology and Cognitive Science
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781351998451
ISBN (Print)9781138244108
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

Fedyk, M. (2018). Intuitions, naturalism, and benacerraf’s problem. In Naturalizing Logico-Mathematical Knowledge: Approaches from Philosophy, Psychology and Cognitive Science (pp. 89-105). Taylor and Francis.