Abstract Øystein Linnebo and Richard Pettigrew () have recently developed a version of non-eliminative mathematical structuralism based on Fregean abstraction principles. They argue that their theory of abstract structures proves a consistent version of the structuralist thesis that positions in abstract structures only have structural properties. They do this by defining a subset of the properties of positions in structures, so-called fundamental properties, and argue that all fundamental properties of positions are structural. In this paper, we argue that the structuralist thesis, even when restricted to fundamental properties, does not follow from the theory of structures that Linnebo and Pettigrew have developed. To make their account work, we propose a formal framework in terms of Kripke models that makes structural abstraction precise. The formal framework allows us to articulate a revised definition of fundamental properties, understood as intensional properties. Based on this revised definition, we show that the restricted version of the structuralist thesis holds. ©The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial reproduction and distribution of the work, in any medium, provided the original work is not altered or transformed in any way, and that the work is properly cited.
The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science – Oxford University Press
Published: Jan 30, 2018
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