The philosophy of mathematics

THE CLOSE CONNECTION BETWEEN mathematics and philosophy has long been recognized by practitioners of both disciplines. The apparent timelessness of mathematical truth, the exactness and objective nature of its concepts, its applicability to the phenomena of the empirical world—explicating such facts presents philosophy with some of its subtlest problems. We shall discuss some of the attempts made by philosophers and mathematicians to explain the nature of mathematics. We begin with a brief presentation of the views of four major classical philosophers: Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz, and Kant. We conclude with a more detailed discussion of the three “schools” of mathematical philosophy which have emerged in the twentieth century: Logicism, Formalism, and Intuitionism.
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