A theory of implicit commitment

Mateusz Łełyk, Carlo Nicolai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The notion of implicit commitment has played a prominent role in recent works in logic and philosophy of mathematics. Although implicit commitment is often associated with highly technical studies, it remains an elusive notion. In particular, it is often claimed that the acceptance of a mathematical theory implicitly commits one to the acceptance of a Uniform Reflection Principle for it. However, philosophers agree that a satisfactory analysis of the transition from a theory to its reflection principle is still lacking. We provide an axiomatization of the minimal commitments implicit in the acceptance of a mathematical theory. The theory entails that the Uniform Reflection Principle is part of one’s implicit commitments, and sheds light on why this is so. We argue that the theory has significant epistemological consequences in that it explains how justified belief in the axioms of a theory can be preserved to the corresponding reflection principle. The theory also improves on recent analyses of implicit commitment based on truth or epistemic notions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number284
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Entitlement
  • Epistemic stability
  • Implicit commitment
  • Incompleteness
  • Mathematical justification
  • Reflection principles

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