The theory of ideas and Plato’s philosophy of mathematics

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Bogdan Dembiński


In this article I analyze the issue of many levels of reality that are studied by natural sciences. Particularly interesting is the level of mathematics and the question of the relationship between mathematics and the structure of the real world. The mathematical nature of the world has been considered since ancient times and is the subject of ongoing research for philosophers of science to this day. One of the viewpoints in this field is mathematical Platonism.

In contemporary philosophy it is widely accepted that according to Plato mathematics is the domain of ideal beings (ideas) that are eternal and unalterable and exist independently from the subject’s beliefs and decisions. Two issues seem to be important here. The first issue concerns the question: was Plato really a proponent of present-day mathematical Platonism? The second one is of greater importance: how mathematics influences our understanding of the nature of the world on its many ontological levels?

In the article I consider three issues: the Platonic theory of “two worlds”, the method of building a mathematical structure, and the ontology of mathematics.

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Dembiński, B. (2019). The theory of ideas and Plato’s philosophy of mathematics. Philosophical Problems in Science (Zagadnienia Filozoficzne W Nauce), (66), 95–108. Retrieved from
Emergence of the Classical


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