Abstract

Mathematics can help us pursue morally significant ends more efficiently—but it can do more. It can help us elaborate and clarify those ends themselves. For example, while it is not a mathematical theorem that we should deal fairly with one another, mathematics can teach us how best to understand fairness in cases of real consequence. This enlargement of ethical understanding is a social function mathematics shares with literature. As I explore this point of common interest, I will consider three standards for assessing ethical standards: feasibility (a particular concern of Aristotle), testability (a particular concern of John Dewey), and mathematical tractability.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9383
Print ISSN
0891-625X
Pages
pp. 517-537
Launched on MUSE
2017-11-07
Open Access
No
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