On the Parallel Between Mathematics and Morals 1

James Franklin a1
a1 The University of New South Wales


The imperviousness of mathematical truth to anti-objectivist attacks has always heartened those who defend objectivism in other areas, such as ethics. It is argued that the parallel between mathematics and ethics is close and does support objectivist theories of ethics. The parallel depends on the foundational role of equality in both disciplines. Despite obvious differences in their subject matter, mathematics and ethics share a status as pure forms of knowledge, distinct from empirical sciences. A pure understanding of principles is possible because of the simplicity of the notion of equality, despite the different origins of our understanding of equality of objects in general and of the equality of the ethical worth of persons.


1 I am grateful to Jean Curthoys for very extensive discussions.