Ethics and the Continuum Hypothesis
Mathematics and ethics are surprisingly similar. To some extent this is obvious, since neither looks to laboratory experiments nor sensory experience of any kind as a source of evidence. Both are based on reason and something commonly call “intuition.” This is not all. Interestingly, mathematics and ethics both possess similar distinctions between pure and applied. I explore some of the similarities and draw methodological lessons from them. We can use these lessons to explore how and why Freiling’s refutation of the continuum hypothesis might be justified.
Thanks to Paul Bartha, Philipp Berghofer, Mark Colyvan, Rob Corless, Nic Fillion, Chris Freiling, Tom Hurka, Tracy Issacs, Mary Leng, Kathleen Okruhlik, Debbie Roberts, Zvonimir Šikić, John Sipe, Alan Sokal, and Harald Wiltsche for discussions of various issues including information about ethical intuitions and the thin-thick distinction. Thanks also to an anonymous referee who provided several useful remarks. Finally, I am grateful to various audiences who heard versions of this material, especially at the ACMES conference at The University of Western Ontario, May 12–15, 2016.
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