Synthese: an International Journal for Epistemology, Methodology and Philosophy of Science
The central topic of this article is (the possibility of) de re knowledge about natural numbers and its relation with names for numbers. It is held by several prominent philosophers that (Peano) numerals are eligible for existential quantification in epistemic contexts ('canonical'), whereas other names for natural numbers are not. In other words, (Peano) numerals are intimately linked with de re knowledge about natural numbers, whereas the other names for natural numbers are not. In this article I am looking for an explanation of this phenomenon. It is argued that the standard induction scheme plays a key role.