Unpicking Priest's Bootstraps

Toby Meadows

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Graham Priest has argued that the fruits of classical set theory can be obtained by naive means through a puzzling piece of reasoning often known as the bootstrapping argument [Priest, 2006]. I will demonstrate that the bootstrapping involved is best understood as viciously circular and thus, that these fruits remain forbidden. The argument has only one rehearsal in print and it is quite subtle. This paper provides reconstruction of the argument based on [Priest, 2006] and attempts some fixes and alternative construals to get around some elementary problems. Despite these efforts the argument remains unconvincing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-188
Number of pages8
JournalThought: A Journal of Philosophy
Issue number3
Early online date27 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015

Bibliographical note

Date of Acceptance: 13/07/2015


  • philosophy of mathematics
  • philosophical logic
  • set theory
  • foundations of mathematics
  • nonclassical logic


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