It is commonly suggested that evolutionary considerations generate an epistemological challenge for moral realism. At first approximation, the challenge for the moral realist is to explain our having many true moral beliefs, given that those beliefs are the products of evolutionary forces that would be indifferent to the moral truth. An important question surrounding this challenge is the extent to which it generalizes. In particular, it is of interest whether the Evolutionary Challenge for moral realism is equally a challenge for (...) mathematical realism. It is widely thought not to be. In this paper, I argue that the Evolutionary Challenge for moral realism is equally a challenge for mathematical realism. Along the way, I substantially clarify the Evolutionary Challenge, discuss its relation to more familiar epistemological challenges, and broach a number of foundational issues in metaphysics. The paper should be of interest to ethicists because it places pressure on anyone who rejects moral realism on the basis of the Evolutionary Challenge to reject mathematical realism as well. And the paper should be of interest to philosophers of mathematics because it presents a new epistemological challenge for mathematical realism that bears, I argue, no simple relation to Paul Benacerraf's familiar challenge. (shrink)
Mathematics plays an inordinate role in the work of many of famous Western philosophers, from the time of Plato, through Husserl and Wittgenstein, and even to the present. Why? This paper points to the experience of learning or making mathematics, with an emphasis on proof. It distinguishes two sources of the perennial impact of mathematics on philosophy. They are classified as Ancient and Enlightenment. Plato is emblematic of the former, and Kant of the latter. The Ancient fascination (...) arises from the sense that mathematics explores something ‘out there’. This is illustrated by recent discussions by distinguished contemporary mathematicians. The Enlightenment strand often uses Kant's argot: ‘absolute necessity’, ‘apodictic certainty’ and ‘a priori’ judgement or knowledge. The experience of being compelled by proof, the sense that something must be true, that a result is certain, generates the philosophy. It also creates the illusion that mathematics is certain. Kant's leading question, ‘How is pure mathematics possible?’, is easily misunderstood because the modern distinction between pure and applied is an artefact of the 19th century. As Russell put it, the issue is to explain ‘the apparent power of anticipating facts about things of which we have no experience’. More generally the question is, how is it that pure mathematics is so rich in applications? Some six types of application are distinguished, each of which engenders its own philosophical problems which are descendants of the Enlightenment, and which differ from those descended from the Ancient strand. (shrink)
Numbers and other mathematical objects are exceptional in having no locations in space or time or relations of cause and effect. This makes it difficult to account for the possibility of the knowledge of such objects, leading many philosophers to embrace nominalism, the doctrine that there are no such objects, and to embark on ambitious projects for interpreting mathematics so as to preserve the subject while eliminating its objects. This book cuts through a host of technicalities that have obscured (...) previous discussions of these projects, and presents clear, concise accounts of a dozen strategies for nominalistic interpretation of mathematics, thus equipping the reader to evaluate each and to compare different ones. The authors also offer critical discussion, rare in the literature, of the aims and claims of nominalistic interpretation, suggesting that it is significant in a very different way from that usually assumed. (shrink)
Challenging the myth that mathematical objects can be defined into existence, Bigelow here employs Armstrong's metaphysical materialism to cast new light on mathematics. He identifies natural, real, and imaginary numbers and sets with specified physical properties and relations and, by so doing, draws mathematics back from its sterile, abstract exile into the midst of the physical world.
We seek to elucidate the philosophical context in which the so-called revolution of rigor in inifinitesimal calculus and mathematical analysis took place. Some of the protagonists of the said revolution were Cauchy, Cantor, Dedekind, and Weierstrass. The dominant current of philosophy in Germany at that time was neo-Kantianism. Among its various currents, the Marburg school (Cohen, Natorp, Cassirer, and others) was the one most interested in matters scientific and mathematical. Our main thesis is that Marburg Neo-Kantian philosophy formulated a sophisticated (...) position towards the problems raised by the concepts of limits and infinitesimals. The Marburg school neither clung to the traditional approach of logically and metaphysically dubious infinitesimals, nor whiggishly subscribed to the new orthodoxy of the "great triumvirate" of Cantor, Dedekind, and Weierstrass. Expressed in terms of modern mathematics, the Marburg philosophers saw the introduction of both infinitesimals and limits as completions whose prototype was Dedekind's of the rational number system resulting in the real numbers. At least partially,, this idea of "completions" can be captured in terms of a category-theoretical description of the conceptual development of modern mathematics. The feasibility of such a modern reformuation may be taken as evidence that the philosophical resources of Marburg neo-Kantianism may be of interest even for contemporary philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
Offering a collection of fifteen essays that deal with issues at the intersection of phenomenology, logic, and the philosophy of mathematics, this book is divided into three parts. Part I, Reason, Science, and Mathematics contains a general essay on Husserl's conception of science and logic, an essay of mathematics and transcendental phenomenology, and an essay oN phenomenology and modern pure geometry. Part II is focused on Kurt Godel's interest in phenomenology. It explores Godel's ideas and also some (...) work of Quine, Penelope Maddy and Roger Penrose. Part III deals with elementary, constructive areas of mathematics. These are areas of mathematics that are closer to their origins in simple cognitive activities and in everyday experience. This part of the book contains essays on intuitionism, Hermann Weyl, the notion of constructive proof, Poincare; and Frege. (shrink)
onl y to discuss some claims concerning the relationship between mathematical logic and the philosophy of mathematics that repeatedly occur in his writings. Although I do not know to what extent they are representative of his present position, they correspond to widespread views of the logical community and so seem worth discussing anyhow. Such claims will be used as reference to make some remarks about the present state of relations between mathematical logic and the philosophy of mathematics.
The twentieth century has witnessed an unprecedented 'crisis in the foundations of mathematics', featuring a world-famous paradox (Russell's Paradox), a challenge to 'classical' mathematics from a world-famous mathematician (the 'mathematical intuitionism' of Brouwer), a new foundational school (Hilbert's Formalism), and the profound incompleteness results of Kurt Gödel. In the same period, the cross-fertilization of mathematics and philosophy resulted in a new sort of 'mathematical philosophy', associated most notably (but in different ways) with Bertrand Russell, W. V. Quine, (...) and Gödel himself, and which remains at the focus of Anglo-Saxon philosophical discussion. The present collection brings together in a convenient form the seminal articles in the philosophy of mathematics by these and other major thinkers. It is a substantially revised version of the edition first published in 1964 and includes a revised bibliography. The volume will be welcomed as a major work of reference at this level in the field. (shrink)
The paper discusses some changes in Bolzano's definition of mathematics attested in several quotations from the Beyträge, Wissenschaftslehre and Grössenlehre: is mathematics a theory of forms or a theory of quantities? Several issues that are maintained throughout Bolzano's works are distinguished from others that were accepted in the Beyträge and abandoned in the Grössenlehre. Changes are interpreted as a consequence of the new logical theory of truth introduced in the Wissenschaftslehre, but also as a consequence of the overcome (...) of Kant's terminology, and of the radicalization of Bolzano's anti‐Kantianism. Bolzano's evolution is understood as a coherent move, once the criticism expressed in the Beyträge on the notion of quantity is compared with a different and larger notion of quantity that Bolzano developed already in 1816. This discussion is enriched by the discovery that two unknown texts mentioned by Bolzano in the Beyträge can be identified with works by von Spaun and Vieth respectively. Bolzano's evolution is interpreted as a radicalization of the criticism of the Kantian definition of mathematics and as an effect of Bolzano's unaltered interest in the Leibnizian notion of mathesis universalis. As a conclusion, the author claims that Bolzano never abandoned his original idea of considering mathematics as a scientia universalis, i.e. as the science of quantities in general, and suggests that the question of ideal elements in mathematics, apart from being a main reason for the development of a new logical theory, can also be considered as a main reason for developing a different definition of quantity. (shrink)
Philosophy of Mathematics is clear and engaging, and student friendly The book discusses the great philosophers and the importance of mathematics to their thought. Among topics discussed in the book are the mathematical image, platonism, picture-proofs, applied mathematics, Hilbert and Godel, knots and notation definitions, picture-proofs and Wittgenstein, computation, proof and conjecture.
This book expounds a system of ideas about the nature of mathematics which Michael Resnik has been elaborating for a number of years. In calling mathematics a science he implies that it has a factual subject-matter and that mathematical knowledge is on a par with other scientific knowledge; in calling it a science of patterns he expresses his commitment to a structuralist philosophy of mathematics. He links this to a defense of realism about the metaphysics of (...) class='Hi'>mathematics--the view that mathematics is about things that really exist. (shrink)
Visual thinking -- visual imagination or perception of diagrams and symbol arrays, and mental operations on them -- is omnipresent in mathematics. Is this visual thinking merely a psychological aid, facilitating grasp of what is gathered by other means? Or does it also have epistemological functions, as a means of discovery, understanding, and even proof? By examining the many kinds of visual representation in mathematics and the diverse ways in which they are used, Marcus Giaquinto argues that visual (...) thinking in mathematics is rarely just a superfluous aid; it usually has epistemological value, often as a means of discovery. Drawing from philosophical work on the nature of concepts and from empirical studies of visual perception, mental imagery, and numerical cognition, Giaquinto explores a major source of our grasp of mathematics, using examples from basic geometry, arithmetic, algebra, and real analysis. He shows how we can discern abstract general truths by means of specific images, how synthetic a priori knowledge is possible, and how visual means can help us grasp abstract structures. Visual Thinking in Mathematics reopens the investigation of earlier thinkers from Plato to Kant into the nature and epistemology of an individual's basic mathematical beliefs and abilities, in the new light shed by the maturing cognitive sciences. Clear and concise throughout, it will appeal to scholars and students of philosophy, mathematics, and psychology, as well as anyone with an interest in mathematical thinking. (shrink)
Naturalism in Mathematics investigates how the most fundamental assumptions of mathematics can be justified. One prevalent philosophical approach to the problem--realism--is examined and rejected in favor of another approach--naturalism. Penelope Maddy defines this naturalism, explains the motivation for it, and shows how it can be successfully applied in set theory. Her clear, original treatment of this fundamental issue is informed by current work in both philosophy and mathematics, and will be accessible and enlightening to readers from both (...) disciplines. (shrink)
Proof and Knowledge in Mathematics tackles the main problem that arises when considering an epistemology for mathematics, the nature and sources of mathematical justification. Focusing both on particular and general issues, these essays from leading philosophers of mathematics raise important issues for our current understanding of mathematics. Is mathematical justification a priori or a posteriori? What role, if any, does logic play in mathematical reasoning or inference? And how epistemologically important is the formalizability of proof? Michael (...) Detlefsen has brought together an outstanding collection of essays in a volume which will be essential for philosophers and historians of mathematics who are interested in the nature of reasoning and justification. A companion volume, Proof, Knowledge and Formalization is also available from Routledge. (shrink)
Wittgenstein played a vital role in establishing mathematics as one of this century's principal areas of philosophic inquiry. In this book, Pasquale Frascolla examines the three phases of Wittgenstein's reflections on mathematics, considering them as a progressive whole rather than as separate entities. Frascolla discusses the development of Wittgenstein's views on mathematics from the Tractatus up to 1944. He looks at the presentation of arithmetic in the theory of logical operations, the presence of a strong verificationist (...) orientation and the rule-following considerations in Wittgenstein's writings. Frascolla identifies a unifying key--a "quasi-formalism"--to the development of Wittgenstein's reflections on mathematics. (shrink)
1. Introduction : the mathematical image -- 2. Platonism -- 3. Picture-proofs and Platonism -- 4. What is applied mathematics? -- 5. Hilbert and Gödel -- 6. Knots and notation -- 7. What is a definition? -- 8. Constructive approaches -- 9. Proofs, pictures and procedures in Wittgenstein -- 10. Computation, proof and conjecture -- 11. How to refute the continuum hypothesis -- 12. Calling the bluff.
Mathematicians tend to think of themselves as scientists investigating the features of real mathematical things, and the wildly successful application of mathematics in the physical sciences reinforces this picture of mathematics as an objective study. For philosophers, however, this realism about mathematics raises serious questions: What are mathematical things? Where are they? How do we know about them? Offering a scrupulously fair treatment of both mathematical and philosophical concerns, Penelope Maddy here delineates and defends a novel version (...) of mathematical realism. She answers the traditional questions and poses a challenging new one, refocusing philosophical attention on the pressing foundational issues of contemporary mathematics. (shrink)
The seventeenth century saw dramatic advances in mathematical theory and practice. With the recovery of many of the classical Greek mathematical texts, new techniques were introduced, and within 100 years, the rules of analytic geometry, geometry of indivisibles, arithmatic of infinites, and calculus were developed. Although many technical studies have been devoted to these innovations, Mancosu provides the first comprehensive account of the relationship between mathematical advances of the seventeenth century and the philosophy of mathematics of the period. Starting (...) with the Renaissance debates on the certainty of mathematics, Mancosu leads the reader through the foundational issues raised by the emergence of these new mathematical techniques, including the influence of the Aristotelian conception of science in Cavalieri and Guldin, the foundational relevance of Descartes' Geometrie, the relation between geometrical and epistemological theories of the infinite, and the Leibnizian calculus and the opposition to infinitesimalist procedures. In the process Mancosu draws a sophisticated picture of the subtle dependencies between technical development and philosophical reflection in seventeenth century mathematics. (shrink)
Here, Bob Hale and Crispin Wright assemble the key writings that lead to their distinctive neo-Fregean approach to the philosophy of mathematics. In addition to fourteen previously published papers, the volume features a new paper on the Julius Caesar problem; a substantial new introduction mapping out the program and the contributions made to it by the various papers; a section explaining which issues most require further attention; and bibliographies of references and further useful sources. It will be recognized as (...) the most powerful presentation yet of a neo-Fregean program. (shrink)
For over thirty years I have argued that all branches of science and scholarship would have both their intellectual and humanitarian value enhanced if pursued in accordance with the edicts of wisdom-inquiry rather than knowledge-inquiry. I argue that this is true of mathematics. Viewed from the perspective of knowledge-inquiry, mathematics confronts us with two fundamental problems. (1) How can mathematics be held to be a branch of knowledge, in view of the difficulties that view engenders? What could (...)mathematics be knowledge about? (2) How do we distinguish significant from insignificant mathematics? This is a fundamental philosophical problem concerning the nature of mathematics. But it is also a practical problem concerning mathematics itself. In the absence of the solution to the problem, there is the danger that genuinely significant mathematics will be lost among the unchecked growth of a mass of insignificant mathematics. This second problem cannot, it would seem, be solved granted knowledge-inquiry. For, in order to solve the problem, mathematics needs to be related to values, but this is, it seems, prohibited by knowledge-inquiry because it could only lead to the subversion of mathematical rigour. Both problems are solved, however, when mathematics is viewed from the perspective of wisdom-inquiry. (1) Mathematics is not a branch of knowledge. It is a body of systematized, unified and inter-connected problem-solving methods, a body of problematic possibilities. (2) A piece of mathematics is significant if (a) it links up to the interconnected body of existing mathematics, ideally in such a way that some problems difficult to solve in other branches become much easier to solve when translated into the piece of mathematics in question; (b) it has fruitful applications for (other) worthwhile human endeavours. If ever the revolution from knowledge to wisdom occurs, I would hope wisdom mathematics would flourish, the nature of mathematics would become much more transparent, more pupils and students would come to appreciate the fascination of mathematics, and it would be easier to discern what is genuinely significant in mathematics (something that baffled even Einstein). As a result of clarifying what should count as significant, the pursuit of wisdom mathematics might even lead to the development of significant new mathematics. (shrink)
Metaphysics, Mathematics, and Meaning brings together Nathan Salmon's influential papers on topics in the metaphysics of existence, non-existence, and fiction; modality and its logic; strict identity, including personal identity; numbers and numerical quantifiers; the philosophical significance of Godel's Incompleteness theorems; and semantic content and designation. Including a previously unpublished essay and a helpful new introduction to orient the reader, the volume offers rich and varied sustenance for philosophers and logicians.
Do numbers, sets, and so forth, exist? What do mathematical statements mean? Are they literally true or false, or do they lack truth values altogether? Addressing questions that have attracted lively debate in recent years, Stewart Shapiro contends that standard realist and antirealist accounts of mathematics are both problematic. As Benacerraf first noted, we are confronted with the following powerful dilemma. The desired continuity between mathematical and, say, scientific language suggests realism, but realism in this context suggests seemingly intractable (...) epistemic problems. As a way out of this dilemma, Shapiro articulates a structuralist approach. On this view, the subject matter of arithmetic, for example, is not a fixed domain of numbers independent of each other, but rather is the natural number structure, the pattern common to any system of objects that has an initial object and successor relation satisfying the induction principle. Using this framework, realism in mathematics can be preserved without troublesome epistemic consequences. Shapiro concludes by showing how a structuralist approach can be applied to wider philosophical questions such as the nature of an "object" and the Quinean nature of ontological commitment. Clear, compelling, and tautly argued, Shapiro's work, noteworthy both in its attempt to develop a full-length structuralist approach to mathematics and to trace its emergence in the history of mathematics, will be of deep interest to both philosophers and mathematicians. (shrink)
The article evaluates the Domain Postulate of the Classical Model of Science and the related Aristotelian prohibition rule on kind-crossing as interpretative tools in the history of the development of mathematics into a general science of quantities. Special reference is made to Proclus’ commentary to Euclid’s first book of Elements , to the sixteenth century translations of Euclid’s work into Latin and to the works of Stevin, Wallis, Viète and Descartes. The prohibition rule on kind-crossing formulated by Aristotle in (...) Posterior analytics is used to distinguish between conceptions that share the same name but are substantively different: for example the search for a broader genus including all mathematical objects; the search for a common character of different species of mathematical objects; and the effort to treat magnitudes as numbers. (shrink)
Professor Hilary Putnam has been one of the most influential and sharply original of recent American philosophers in a whole range of fields. His most important published work is collected here, together with several new and substantial studies, in two volumes. The first deals with the philosophy of mathematics and of science and the nature of philosophical and scientific enquiry; the second deals with the philosophy of language and mind. Volume one is now issued in a new edition, including (...) an essay on the philosophy of logic first published in 1971. (shrink)
Mathematics and logic have been central topics of concern since the dawn of philosophy. Since logic is the study of correct reasoning, it is a fundamental branch of epistemology and a priority in any philosophical system. Philosophers have focused on mathematics as a case study for general philosophical issues and for its role in overall knowledge- gathering. Today, philosophy of mathematics and logic remain central disciplines in contemporary philosophy, as evidenced by the regular appearance of articles on (...) these topics in the best mainstream philosophical journals; in fact, the last decade has seen an explosion of scholarly work in these areas. This volume covers these disciplines in a comprehensive and accessible manner, giving the reader an overview of the major problems, positions, and battle lines. The 26 contributed chapters are by established experts in the field, and their articles contain both exposition and criticism as well as substantial development of their own positions. The essays, which are substantially self-contained, serve both to introduce the reader to the subject and to engage in it at its frontiers. Certain major positions are represented by two chapters--one supportive and one critical. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Math and Logic is a ground-breaking reference like no other in its field. It is a central resource to those wishing to learn about the philosophy of mathematics and the philosophy of logic, or some aspect thereof, and to those who actively engage in the discipline, from advanced undergraduates to professional philosophers, mathematicians, and historians. (shrink)
Imre Lakatos' philosophical and scientific papers are published here in two volumes. Volume I brings together his very influential but scattered papers on the philosophy of the physical sciences, and includes one important unpublished essay on the effect of Newton's scientific achievement. Volume 2 presents his work on the philosophy of mathematics (much of it unpublished), together with some critical essays on contemporary philosophers of science and some famous polemical writings on political and educational issues.
This comprehensive volume gives a panorama of the best current work in this lively field, through twenty specially written essays by the leading figures in the field. All essays deal with foundational issues, from the nature of mathematical knowledge and mathematical existence to logical consequence, abstraction, and the notions of set and natural number. The contributors also represent and criticize a variety of prominent approaches to the philosophy of mathematics, including platonism, realism, nomalism, constructivism, and formalism.
Graduate-level historical study is ideal for students intending to specialize in the topic, as well as those who only need a general treatment. Part I discusses traditional and symbolic logic. Part II explores the foundations of mathematics, emphasizing Hilbert’s metamathematics. Part III focuses on the philosophy of mathematics. Each chapter has extensive supplementary notes; a detailed appendix charts modern developments.
In this ambitious study, David Corfield attacks the widely held view that it is the nature of mathematical knowledge which has shaped the way in which mathematics is treated philosophically, and claims that contingent factors have brought us to the present thematically limited discipline. Illustrating his discussion with a wealth of examples, he sets out a variety of approaches to new thinking about the philosophy of mathematics, ranging from an exploration of whether computers producing mathematical proofs or conjectures (...) are doing real mathematics, to the use of analogy, the prospects for a Bayesian confirmation theory, the notion of a mathematical research programme, and the ways in which new concepts are justified. His highly original book challenges both philosophers and mathematicians to develop the broadest and richest philosophical resources for work in their disciplines, and points clearly to the ways in which this can be done. (shrink)
Platonism is the most pervasive philosophy of mathematics. Indeed, it can be argued that an inarticulate, half-conscious Platonism is nearly universal among mathematicians. The basic idea is that mathematical entities exist outside space and time, outside thought and matter, in an abstract realm. In the more eloquent words of Edward Everett, a distinguished nineteenth-century American scholar, "in pure mathematics we contemplate absolute truths which existed in the divine mind before the morning stars sang together, and which will continue (...) to exist there when the last of their radiant host shall have fallen from heaven." In What is Mathematics, Really?, renowned mathematician Rueben Hersh takes these eloquent words and this pervasive philosophy to task, in a subversive attack on traditional philosophies of mathematics, most notably, Platonism and formalism. Virtually all philosophers of mathematics treat it as isolated, timeless, ahistorical, inhuman. Hersh argues the contrary, that mathematics must be understood as a human activity, a social phenomenon, part of human culture, historically evolved, and intelligible only in a social context. Mathematical objects are created by humans, not arbitrarily, but from activity with existing mathematical objects, and from the needs of science and daily life. Hersh pulls the screen back to reveal mathematics as seen by professionals, debunking many mathematical myths, and demonstrating how the "humanist" idea of the nature of mathematics more closely resembles how mathematicians actually work. At the heart of the book is a fascinating historical account of the mainstream of philosophy--ranging from Pythagoras, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, and Kant, to Bertrand Russell, David Hilbert, Rudolph Carnap, and Willard V.O. Quine--followed by the mavericks who saw mathematics as a human artifact, including Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Mill, Peirce, Dewey, and Lakatos. In his epilogue, Hersh reveals that this is no mere armchair debate, of little consequence to the outside world. He contends that Platonism and elitism fit well together, that Platonism in fact is used to justify the claim that "some people just can't learn math." The humanist philosophy, on the other hand, links mathematics with geople, with society, and with history. It fits with liberal anti-elitism and its historical striving for universal literacy, universal higher education, and universal access to knowledge and culture. Thus Hersh's argument has educational and political ramifications. Written by the co-author of The Mathematical Experience, which won the American Book Award in 1983, this volume reflects an insider's view of mathematical life, based on twenty years of doing research on advanced mathematical problems, thirty-five years of teaching graduates and undergraduates, and many long hours of listening, talking to, and reading philosophers. A clearly written and highly iconoclastic book, it is sure to be hotly debated by anyone with a passionate interest in mathematics or the philosophy of science. (shrink)
"With exceptional clarity, but with no evasion of essential ideas, the author outlines the fundamental structure of mathematics."--Carl B. Boyer, Brooklyn College. This enlightening survey of mathematical concept formation holds a natural appeal to philosophically minded readers, and no formal training in mathematics is necessary to appreciate its clear exposition. Contents include examinations of arithmetic and geometry; the rigorous construction of the theory of integers; the rational numbers and their foundation in arithmetic; and the rigorous construction of elementary (...) arithmetic. Advanced topics encompass the principle of complete induction; the limit and point of accumulation; operating with sequences and differential quotient; remarkable curves; real numbers and ultrareal numbers; and complex and hypercomplex numbers. 1959 ed. 27 Figures. Index. (shrink)
This is an introduction to, and survey of, the constructive approaches to pure mathematics. The authors emphasise the viewpoint of Errett Bishop's school, but intuitionism. Russian constructivism and recursive analysis are also treated, with comparisons between the various approaches included where appropriate. Constructive mathematics is now enjoying a revival, with interest from not only logicans but also category theorists, recursive function theorists and theoretical computer scientists. This account for non-specialists in these and other disciplines.
Marcus Giaquinto tells the compelling story of one of the great intellectual adventures of the modern era: the attempt to find firm foundations for mathematics. From the late nineteenth century to the present day, this project has stimulated some of the most original and influential work in logic and philosophy.
Those inquiring into the nature of mind have long been interested in the foundations of mathematics, and conversely this branch of knowledge is distinctive in that our access to it is purely through thought. A better understanding of mathematical thought should clarify the conceptual foundations of mathematics, and a deeper grasp of the latter should in turn illuminate the powers of mind through which mathematics is made available to us. The link between conceptions of mind and of (...)mathematics has been a central theme running through the great competing philosophies of mathematics of the twentieth century, though each has refashioned the connection and its import in distinctive ways. The present collection will be of interest to students of both mathematics and of mind. Contents include: "Introduction" by Alexander George; "What is Mathematics About?" by Michael Dummett; "The Advantages of Honest Toil over Theft" by George Boolos; "The Law of Excluded Middle and the Axiom of Choice" by W.W. Tait; "Mechanical Procedures and Mathematical Experience" by Wilfried Sieg; "Mathematical Intuition and Objectivity" by Daniel Isaacson; "Intuition and Number" by Charles Parsons; and "Hilbert's Axiomatic Method and the Laws of Thought" by Michael Hallett. (shrink)
This book, written by one of philosophy's pre-eminent logicians, argues that many of the basic assumptions common to logic, philosophy of mathematics and metaphysics are in need of change. It is therefore a book of critical importance to logical theory. Jaakko Hintikka proposes a new basic first-order logic and uses it to explore the foundations of mathematics. This new logic enables logicians to express on the first-order level such concepts as equicardinality, infinity, and truth in the same language. (...) The famous impossibility results by Gödel and Tarski that have dominated the field for the last sixty years turn out to be much less significant than has been thought. All of ordinary mathematics can in principle be done on this first-order level, thus dispensing with the existence of sets and other higher-order entities. (shrink)
Lucid and comprehensive essay surveys the views of Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz and Kant on the nature of mathematics; examines the propositions and theories of the schools these philosophers inspired; and concludes with a discussion on the relation between mathematical theories, empirical data and philosophical presuppositions.
Granted that truth is valuable we must recognize that certifiable truth is hard to come by, for example in the natural and social sciences. This paper examines the case of mathematics. As a result of the work of Gödel and Tarski we know that truth does not equate with proof. This has been used by Lucas and Penrose to argue that human minds can do things which digital computers can't, viz to know the truth of unprovable arithmetical statements. The (...) argument is given a simple formulation in the context of sorites (Robinson) arithmetic, avoiding the complexities of formulating the Gödel sentence. The pros and cons of the argument are considered in relation to the conception of mathematical truth. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Part I. Historical Context - Gödel's Contributions and Accomplishments: 1. The impact of Gödel's incompleteness theorems on mathematics Angus Macintyre; 2. Logical hygiene, foundations, and abstractions: diversity among aspects and options Georg Kreisel; 3. The reception of Gödel's 1931 incompletabilty theorems by mathematicians, and some logicians, to the early 1960s Ivor Grattan-Guinness; 4. 'Dozent Gödel will not lecture' Karl Sigmund; 5. Gödel's thesis: an appreciation Juliette C. Kennedy; 6. Lieber Herr Bernays!, Lieber Herr Gödel! Gödel (...) on finitism, constructivity, and Hilbert's program Solomon Feferman; 7. Computation and intractability: echoes of Kurt Gödel Christos H. Papadimitriou; 8. From the entscheidungsproblem to the personal computer - and beyond B. Jack Copeland; 9. Gödel, Einstein, Mach, Gamow, and Lanczos: Gödel's remarkable excursion into cosmology Wolfgang Rindler; 10. Physical unknowables Karl Svozil; Part II. A Wider Vision - The Interdisciplinary, Philosophical, And Theological Implications of Gödel's Work: 11. Gödel and physics John D. Barrow; 12. Gödel, Thomas Aquinas, and the unknowability of God Denys A. Turner; 13. Gödel's mathematics of philosophy Piergiorgio Odifreddi; 14. Gödel's ontological proof and its variants Petr Hájek; 15. The Gödel theorem and human nature Hilary Putnam; 16. Gödel, the mind, and the laws of physics Roger Penrose; Part III. New Frontiers - Beyond Gödel's Work in Mathematics and Symbolic Logic: 17. Gödel's functional interpretation and its use in current mathematics Ulrich Kohlenbach; 18. My forty years on his shoulders Harvey M. Friedman; 19. My interaction with Kurt Gödel: the man and his work Paul J. Cohen; 20. The transfinite universe W. Hugh Woodin; 21. The Gödel phenomena in mathematics: a modern view Avi Wigderson. (shrink)
Among the aims of this book are: - The discussion of some important philosophical issues using the precision of mathematics. - The development of formal systems that contain both classical and constructive components. This allows the study of constructivity in otherwise classical contexts and represents the formalization of important intensional aspects of mathematical practice. - The direct formalization of intensional concepts (such as computability) in a mixed constructive/classical context.
This is a concise introductory textbook for a one semester course in the history and philosophy of mathematics. It is written for mathematics majors, philosophy students, history of science students and secondary school mathematics teachers. The only prerequisite is a solid command of pre-calculus mathematics. It is shorter than the standard textbooks in that area and thus more accessible to students who have trouble coping with vast amounts of reading. Furthermore, there are many detailed explanations of (...) the important mathematical procedures actually used by famous mathematicians, giving more mathematically talented students a greater opportunity to learn the history and philosophy by way of problem solving. Several important philosophical topics are pursued throughout the text, giving the student an opportunity to come to a full and consistent knowledge of their development. These topics include infinity, the nature of motion, and Platonism. This book offers, in fewer pages, a deep penetration into the key mathematical and philosophical aspects of the history of mathematics. (shrink)
Modern philosophy of mathematics has been dominated by Platonism and nominalism, to the neglect of the Aristotelian realist option. Aristotelianism holds that mathematics studies certain real properties of the world – mathematics is neither about a disembodied world of “abstract objects”, as Platonism holds, nor it is merely a language of science, as nominalism holds. Aristotle’s theory that mathematics is the “science of quantity” is a good account of at least elementary mathematics: the ratio of (...) two heights, for example, is a perceivable and measurable real relation between properties of physical things, a relation that can be shared by the ratio of two weights or two time intervals. Ratios are an example of continuous quantity; discrete quantities, such as whole numbers, are also realised as relations between a heap and a unit-making universal. For example, the relation between foliage and being-a-leaf is the number of leaves on a tree, a relation that may equal the relation between a heap of shoes and being-a-shoe. Modern higher mathematics, however, deals with some real properties that are not naturally seen as quantity, so that the “science of quantity” theory of mathematics needs supplementation. Symmetry, topology and similar structural properties are studied by mathematics, but are about pattern, structure or arrangement rather than quantity. (shrink)
This edited volume, aimed at both students and researchers in philosophy, mathematics and history of science, highlights leading developments in the overlapping areas of philosophy and the history of modern mathematics. It is a coherent, wide ranging account of how a number of topics in the philosophy of mathematics must be reconsidered in the light of the latest historical research and how a number of historical accounts can be deepened by embracing philosophical questions.
Social revolutions--that is critical periods of decisive, qualitative change--are a commonly acknowledged historical fact. But can the idea of revolutionary upheaval be extended to the world of ideas and theoretical debate? The publication of Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in 1962 led to an exciting discussion of revolutions in the natural sciences. A fascinating, but little known, off-shoot of this was a debate which began in the United States in the mid-1970's as to whether the concept of revolution could (...) be applied to mathematics as well as science. Michael Grove declared that revolutions never occur in mathematics, while Joseph Dauben argued that there have been mathematical revolutions and gave some examples. This book is the first comprehensive examination of the question. It reprints the original papers of Grove, Dauben, and Mehrtens, together with additional chapters giving their current views. To this are added new contributions from nine further experts in the history of mathematics, who each discuss an important episode and consider whether it was a revolution. The whole question of mathematical revolutions is thus examined comprehensively and from a variety of perspectives. This thought-provoking volume will interest mathematicians, philosophers, and historians alike. (shrink)
This pioneering book demonstrates the crucial importance of Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics to his philosophy as a whole. Marion traces the development of Wittgenstein's thinking in the context of the mathematical and philosophical work of the times, to make coherent sense of ideas that have too often been misunderstood because they have been presented in a disjointed and incomplete way. In particular, he illuminates the work of the neglected 'transitional period' between the Tractatus and the Investigations.
Figures of Thought looks at how mathematical works can be read as texts and examines their textual strategies. David Reed offers the first sustained and critical attempt to find a consistent argument or narrative thread in mathematical texts. Reed selects mathematicians from a range of historical periods and compares their approaches to organizing and arguing texts, using an extended commentary on Euclid's Elements as a central structuring framework. He develops fascinating interpretations of mathematicians' work throughout history, from Descartes to Hilbert, (...) Kronecker, Dedekind, Weil and Grothendieck. Reed traces the implications of this approach to the understanding of the history and development of mathematics. (shrink)
Robertson's earlier work, The New Renaissance projected the likely future impact of computers in changing our culture. Phase Change builds on and deepens his assessment of the role of the computer as a tool driving profound change by examining the role of computers in changing the face of the sciences and mathematics. He shows that paradigm shifts in understanding in science have generally been triggered by the availability of new tools, allowing the investigator a new way of seeing into (...) questions that had not earlier been amenable to scientific probing. (shrink)
This paper has two main purposes: first to compare Wittgenstein's views to the more traditional views in the philosophy of mathematics; second, to provide a general outline for a Wittgensteinian reply to two objections against Wittgenstein's account of mathematics: the objectivity objection and the consistency objections, respectively. Two fundamental thesmes of Wittgenstein's account of mathematics title the first two sections: mathematical propositions are rules and not descritpions and mathematics is employed within a form of life. Under (...) each heading, I examine Wittgenstein's rejection of alternative views. My aim is to make clear the differences and to suggest some similarities. As will become clear, Wittgenstein often rejects opposing views for the same or similar reasons. This comparison will provide the necessary background for better understanding Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics, for appreciating its many unappreciated advantages and, finally, for defending a conventionalist account of mathematics. (shrink)
Volume 9 of the Routledge History of Philosophy surveys ten key topics in the Philosophy of Science, Logic and Mathematics in the Twentieth Century. Each article is written by one of the world's leading experts in that field. The papers provide a comprehensive introduction to the subject in question, and are written in a way that is accessible to philosophy undergraduates and to those outside of philosophy who are interested in these subjects. Each chapter contains an extensive bibliography of (...) the major writings in the field. Among the topics covered are the philosophy of logic; Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus; a survey of logical positivism; the philosophy of physics and of science; probability theory and cybernetics. (shrink)
As science has become more heavily mathematical and as computers continue to infiltrate life in affluent societies, the philosopher's concern with mathematics has, paradoxically, dwindled. It has come to be tacitly presumed that mathematics is nothing but logic. Concentrating on three key figures in the philosophy of mathematics--Frege, Russell, and Hilbert--Mary Tiles seeks to dispel the misconception that scientific rationality and the character of reason is merely pure logic --and therefore inherently at odds with imagination. Tiles argues (...) against those who see mathematics as uncreative and irrelevant to our postmodern, post-structuralist age. Mary Tiles writes in a lively, refreshingly non-technical style and succeeds in combining the highest degree of rigor with imagination and insight to provide a valuable book for students of the philosophy of logic and mathematics, epistemology, as well as for philosophically minded mathematicians and computer scientists. (shrink)
This is a charming and insightful contribution to an understanding of the "Science Wars" between postmodernist humanism and science, driving toward a resolution of the mutual misunderstanding that has driven the controversy. It traces the root of postmodern theory to a debate on the foundations of mathematics early in the 20th century, then compares developments in mathematics to what took place in the arts and humanities, discussing issues as diverse as literary theory, arts, and artificial intelligence. This (...) is a straightforward, easily understood presentation of what can be difficult theoretical concepts It demonstrates that a pattern of misreading mathematics can be seen both on the part of science and on the part of postmodern thinking. This is a humorous, playful yet deeply serious look at the intellectual foundations of mathematics for those in the humanities and the perfect critical introduction to the bases of modernism and postmodernism for those in the sciences. (shrink)
This edited collection bridges the foundations and practice of constructive mathematics and focuses on the contrast between the theoretical developments, which have been most useful for computer science (ie: constructive set and type theories), and more specific efforts on constructive analysis, algebra and topology. Aimed at academic logician, mathematicians, philosophers and computer scientists with contributions from leading researchers, it is up to date, highly topical and broad in scope.
Gilles Deleuze’s engagements with mathematics, replete in his work, rely upon the construction of alternative lineages in the history of mathematics, which challenge some of the self imposed limits that regulate the canonical concepts of the discipline. For Deleuze, these challenges provide an opportunity to reconfigure particular philosophical problems – for example, the problem of individuation – and to develop new concepts in response to them. The highly original research presented in this book explores the mathematical construction of (...) Deleuze’s philosophy, as well as addressing the undervalued and often neglected question of the mathematical thinkers who influenced his work. -/- In the wake of Alain Badiou’s recent and seemingly devastating attack on the way the relation between mathematics and philosophy is configured in Deleuze’s work, Simon Duffy offers a robust defence of the structure of Deleuze’s philosophy and, in particular, the adequacy of the mathematical problems used in its construction. By reconciling Badiou and Deleuze’s seeming incompatible engagements with mathematics, Duffy succeeds in presenting a solid foundation for Deleuze’s philosophy, rebuffing the recent challenges against it. -/- Simon B. Duffy is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Yale-NUS College, Singapore, and Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is the author of The Logic of Expression: Quality, Quantity, and Intensity in Spinoza, Hegel and Deleuze (2006). (shrink)
The Conceptual Roots of Mathematics is a comprehensive study of the foundation of mathematics. Lucas, one of the most distinguished Oxford scholars, covers a vast amount of ground in the philosophy of mathematics, showing us that it is actually at the heart of the study of epistemology and metaphysics.
It is a rather safe statement to claim that the social dimensions of the scientific process are accepted in a fair share of studies in the philosophy of science. It is a somewhat safe statement to claim that the social dimensions are now seen as an essential element in the understanding of what human cognition is and how it functions. But it would be a rather unsafe statement to claim that the social is fully accepted in the philosophy of (...) class='Hi'>mathematics. And we are not quite sure what kind of statement it is to claim that the social dimensions in theories of mathematics education are becoming more prominent, compared to the psychological dimensions. In our contribution we will focus, after a brief presentation of the above claims, on this particular domain to understand the successes and failures of the development of theories of mathematics education that focus on the social and not primarily on the psychological. (shrink)
The paper distinguishes between two kinds of mathematics, natural mathematics which is a result of biological evolution and artificial mathematics which is a result of cultural evolution. On this basis, it outlines an approach to the philosophy of mathematics which involves a new treatment of the method of mathematics, the notion of demonstration, the questions of discovery and justification, the nature of mathematical objects, the character of mathematical definition, the role of intuition, the role of (...) diagrams in mathematics, and the effectiveness of mathematics in natural science. (shrink)
The primary aim of this article is to bring the work of Deleuze and Guattari to bear on the question of communication in the classroom. I focus on the mathematics classroom, where agency and subjectivity are highly regulated by the rituals of the discipline, and where neoliberal psychological frameworks continue to dominate theories of teaching and learning. Moreover, the nature of communication in mathematics classrooms remains highly elusive and problematic, due in part to the distinct relationship the discipline (...) has with verbal language and thought. I first discuss current attempts to better address the embodied nature of communication in mathematics classrooms, and argue that these remain overly logo-centric and language-centric in their conception of thinking. I then show how the work of Deleuze and Guattari on thought as a radical disruptive event can be used effectively to critique current pedagogical practices that privilege a narrow conception of communication in the classroom. I examine a set of exemplary classroom videos used in mathematics teacher education to argue that the current approach fails to honor the highly creative and disruptive nature of thinking. (shrink)
We argue that the set of humanly known mathematical truths (at any given moment in human history) is finite and so recursive. But if so, then given various fundamental results in mathematical logic and the theory of computation (such as Craig’s in J Symb Log 18(1): 30–32(1953) theorem), the set of humanly known mathematical truths is axiomatizable. Furthermore, given Godel’s (Monash Math Phys 38: 173–198, 1931) First Incompleteness Theorem, then (at any given moment in human history) humanly known mathematics (...) must be either inconsistent or incomplete. Moreover, since humanly known mathematics is axiomatizable, it can be the output of a Turing machine. We then argue that any given mathematical claim that we could possibly know could be the output of a Turing machine, at least in principle. So the Lucas-Penrose (Lucas in Philosophy 36:112–127, 1961; Penrose, in The Emperor’s new mind. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1994)) argument cannot be sound. (shrink)
This article looks at recent work in cognitive science on mathematical cognition from the perspective of history and philosophy of mathematical practice. The discussion is focused on the work of Lakoff and Núñez, because this is the first comprehensive account of mathematical cognition that also addresses advanced mathematics and its history. Building on a distinction between mathematics as it is presented in textbooks and as it presents itself to the researcher, it is argued that the focus of cognitive (...) analyses of historical developments of mathematics has been primarily on the former, even if they claim to be about the latter. (shrink)
This unique book by Stewart Shapiro looks at a range of philosophical issues and positions concerning mathematics in four comprehensive sections. Part I describes questions and issues about mathematics that have motivated philosophers since the beginning of intellectual history. Part II is an historical survey, discussing the role of mathematics in the thought of such philosophers as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Mill. Part III covers the three major positions held throughout the twentieth century: the idea that (...) class='Hi'>mathematics is logic (logicism), the view that the essence of mathematics is the rule-governed manipulation of characters (formalism), and a revisionist philosophy that focuses on the mental activity of mathematics (intuitionism). Finally, Part IV brings the reader up-to-date with a look at contemporary developments within the discipline. This sweeping introductory guide to the philosophy of mathematics makes these fascinating concepts accessible to those with little background in either mathematics or philosophy. (shrink)
Thirteen up-and-coming researchers in the philosophy of mathematics have been invited to write on what they take to be the right philosophical account of mathematics, examining along the way where they think the philosophy of mathematics is and ought to be going. A rich and diverse picture emerges. Some broader tendencies can nevertheless be detected: there is increasing attention to the practice, language and psychology of mathematics, a move to reassess the orthodoxy, as well as inspiration (...) from philosophical logic. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Mathematics and its philosophy; 2. The limits of mathematics; 3. Plato's heaven; 4. Fiction, metaphor, and partial truths; 5. Mathematical explanation; 6. The applicability of mathematics; 7. Who's afraid of inconsistent mathematics?; 8. A rose by any other name; 9. Epilogue: desert island theorems.
Philosopher Rene Descartes visualized a world unified by mathematics, in which all intellectual issues could be resolved rationally by local computation. This series of provocative essays takes a modern look at the seventeenth-century thinker’s dream, examining the physical and intellectual influences of mathematics on society, particularly in light of technological advances. They survey the conditions that elicit the application of mathematic principles; the effectiveness of these applications; and how applied mathematics constrain lives and transform perceptions of reality. (...) Highly suitable for browsing, the essays require different levels of mathematical knowledge that range from popular to professional. 1987 ed. (shrink)
This massive two-volume reference presents a comprehensive selection of the most important works on the foundations of mathematics. While the volumes include important forerunners like Berkeley, MacLaurin, and D'Alembert, as well as such followers as Hilbert and Bourbaki, their emphasis is on the mathematical and philosophical developments of the nineteenth century. Besides reproducing reliable English translations of classics works by Bolzano, Riemann, Hamilton, Dedekind, and Poincare, William Ewald also includes selections from Gauss, Cantor, Kronecker, and Zermelo, all translated here (...) for the first time. (shrink)
Bibliography of A. A. Fraenkel (p. ix-x)--Axiomatic set theory. Zur Frage der Unendlichkeitsschemata in der axiomatischen Mengenlehre, von P. Bernays.--On some problems involving inaccessible cardinals, by P. Erdös and A. Tarski.--Comparing the axioms of local and universal choice, by A. Lévy.--Frankel's addition to the axioms of Zermelo, by R. Mantague.--More on the axiom of extensionality, by D. Scott.--The problem of predicativity, by J. R. Shoenfield.--Mathematical logic. Grundgedanken einer typenfreien Logik, von W. Ackermann.--On the use of Hilbert's [epsilon]-operator in scientific theories, (...) by R. Carnap.--Basic verifiability in the combinatory theory of restricted generality, by H. B. Curry.--Uniqueness ordinals in constructive number classes, by H. Putnam.--On the construction of models, by A. Robinson.--Interpretation of mathematical theories in the first order predicate calculus, by T. Skolem.--The elementary character of two notions from general algebra, by R. Vaught.--Foundations of arithmetic and analysis. Axiomatic method and intuitionism, by A. Heyting.--On rank-decreasing functions, by G. Kurepa.--On non-standard models for number theory, by E. Mendelson.--Concerning the problem of axiomatizability of the field of real numbers in the weak second order logic, by A. Mostowski.--Non-standard models and independence of the induction axiom, by M. O. Rabin.--Sur les ensembles raréfiés de nombres naturels, par W. Sierpinski.--Philosophy of logic and mathematics. Remarks on the paradoxes of logic and set theory, by E. W. Beth.--Logique formalisée et raisonnement juridique, par R. Feys.--Im Umkreis der sogenannten Raumprobleme, von H. Freudenthal.--Process and existence in mathematics, by H. Wang. (shrink)
This volume offers a selection of the most interesting and important work from recent years in the philosophy of mathematics, which has always been closely linked to, and has exerted a significant influence upon, the main stream of analytical philosophy. The issues discussed are of interest throughout philosophy, and no mathematical expertise is required of the reader. Contributors include W.V. Quine, W.D. Hart, Michael Dummett, Charles Parsons, Paul Benacerraf, Penelope Maddy, W.W. Tait, Hilary Putnam, George Boolos, Daniel Isaacson, Stewart (...) Shapiro, and Hartry Field. (shrink)
This book makes available to the English reader nearly all of the shorter philosophical works, published or unpublished, that Husserl produced on the way to the phenomenological breakthrough recorded in his Logical Investigations of 1900-1901. Here one sees Husserl's method emerging step by step, and such crucial substantive conclusions as that concerning the nature of Ideal entities and the status the intentional `relation' and its `objects'. Husserl's literary encounters with many of the leading thinkers of his day illuminates both the (...) context and the content of his thought. Many of the groundbreaking analyses provided in these texts were never again to be given the thorough expositions found in these early writings. Early Writings in the Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics is essential reading for students of Husserl and all those who enquire into the nature of mathematical and logical knowledge. (shrink)
In this book, which is both a philosophical and historiographical study, the author investigates the fallibility and the rationality of mathematics by means of rational reconstructions of developments in mathematics. The initial chapters are devoted to a critical discussion of Lakatos' philosophy of mathematics. In the remaining chapters several episodes in the history of mathematics are discussed, such as the appearance of deduction in Greek mathematics and the transition from Eighteenth-Century to Nineteenth-Century analysis. The author (...) aims at developing a notion of mathematical rationality that agrees with the historical facts. A modified version of Lakatos' methodology is proposed. The resulting constructions show that mathematical knowledge is fallible, but that its fallibility is remarkably weak. (shrink)
This lucid and comprehensive essay by a distinguished philosopher surveys the views of Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz, and Kant on the nature of mathematics. It examines the propositions and theories of the schools these philosophers inspired, and it concludes by discussing the relationship between mathematical theories, empirical data, and philosophical presuppositions. 1968 edition.
This lucid and comprehensive essay by a distinguished philosopher surveys the views of Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz, and Kant on the nature of mathematics. It examines the propositions and theories of the schools these philosophers inspired, and it concludes by discussing the relationship between mathematical theories, empirical data, and philosophical presuppositions. 1968 edition.
Mary Leng offers a defense of mathematical fictionalism, according to which we have no reason to believe that there are any mathematical objects. Perhaps the most pressing challenge to mathematical fictionalism is the indispensability argument for the truth of our mathematical theories (and therefore for the existence of the mathematical objects posited by those theories). According to this argument, if we have reason to believe anything, we have reason to believe that the claims of our best empirical theories are (at (...) least approximately) true. But since claims whose truth would require the existence of mathematical objects are indispensable in formulating our best empirical theories, it follows that we have good reason to believe in the mathematical objects posited by those mathematical theories used in empirical science, and therefore to believe that the mathematical theories utilized in empirical science are true. Previous responses to the indispensability argument have focussed on arguing that mathematical assumptions can be dispensed with in formulating our empirical theories. Leng, by contrast, offers an account of the role of mathematics in empirical science according to which the successful use of mathematics in formulating our empirical theories need not rely on the truth of the mathematics utilized. (shrink)
From Brouwer To Hilbert: The Debate on the Foundations of Mathematics in the 1920s offers the first comprehensive introduction to the most exciting period in the foundation of mathematics in the twentieth century. The 1920s witnessed the seminal foundational work of Hilbert and Bernays in proof theory, Brouwer's refinement of intuitionistic mathematics, and Weyl's predicativist approach to the foundations of analysis. This impressive collection makes available the first English translations of twenty-five central articles by these important contributors (...) and many others. The articles have been translated for the first time from Dutch, French, and German, and the volume is divided into four sections devoted to (1) Brouwer, (2) Weyl, (3) Bernays and Hilbert, and (4) the emergence of intuitionistic logic. Each section opens with an introduction which provides the necessary historical and technical context for understanding the articles. Although most contemporary work in this field takes its start from the groundbreaking contributions of these major figures, a good, scholarly introduction to the area was not available until now. Unique and accessible, From Brouwer To Hilbert will serve as an ideal text for undergraduate and graduate courses in the philosophy of mathematics, and will also be an invaluable resource for philosophers, mathematicians, and interested non-specialists. (shrink)
A survey of Euclid's Elements, this text provides an understanding of the classical Greek conception of mathematics and its similarities to modern views as well as its differences. It focuses on philosophical, foundational, and logical questions — rather than strictly historical and mathematical issues — and features several helpful appendixes.
Translator's introduction -- Fundamental questions of geometry -- The decidability requirement -- The origin of the concept of number -- Implicit definition and the proper grounding of mathematics -- Rigid bodies in geometry -- Prelude to geometry : the essential ideas -- Physical and mathematical geometry -- Natural geometry -- The concept of the differential -- Reflections on the proper grounding of mathematics I -- Concepts and proofs in mathematics -- Dimension and space in mathematics -- (...) Reflections on the proper grounding of mathematics II -- The axiomatic method in modern mathematics. (shrink)
One is a science, the other an art; one useful, the other seemingly decorative, but mathematics and music share common origins in cult and mystery and have been linked throughout history. Emblems of Mind is Edward Rothstein’s classic exploration of their profound similarities, a journey into their “inner life.” Along the way, Rothstein explains how mathematics makes sense of space, how music tells a story, how theories are constructed, how melody is shaped. He invokes the poetry of Wordsworth, (...) the anthropology of Le;vi-Strauss, the imagery of Plato, and the philosophy of Kant. Math and music, Rothstein shows, apply comparable methods as they create their abstractions, display similar concerns with ratio and proportion, and depend on metaphors and analogies to create their meanings. Ultimately, Rothstein argues, they reveal the ways in which we come to understand the world. They are images of the mind at work and play; indeed, they are emblems of Mind itself. Jacques Barzun called this book “splendid.” Martin Gardner said it was “beautifully written, marvelous and entertaining.” It will provoke all serious readers to think in new ways about the grand patterns in art and life. “Lovely, wistful. . . . Rothstein is a wonderful guide to the architecture of musical space, its tensions and relations, its resonances and proportions. . . . His account of what is going on in the music is unfailingly felicitous.”— New Yorker “Provocative and exciting. . . . Rothstein writes this book as a foreign correspondent, sending dispatches from a remote and mysterious locale as a guide for the intellectually adventurous. The remarkable fact about his work is not that it is profound, as much of the writing is, but that it is so accessible.”— Christian Science Monitor. (shrink)
This volume shows Bertrand Russell in transition from a neo-Kantian and neo-Hegelian philosopher to an analytic philosopher of the highest rank. During this period, his research centered on writing The Principles of Mathematics. The volume draws together previously unpublished drafts which shed light on Russell's struggle to accept Cantor's notion of continuum as well as Russell's infinite ordinal and cardinal numbers. It also includes the first version of Russell's Paradox.
Mathematics in Kant's Critical Philosophy provides a much needed reading (and re-reading) of Kant's theory of the construction of mathematical concepts through a fully contextualized analysis. In this work Lisa Shabel convincingly argues that it is only through an understanding of the relevant eighteenth century mathematics textbooks, and the related mathematical practice, can the material and context necessary for a successful interpretation of Kant's philosophy be provided. This is borne out through sustained readings of Euclid and Woolf in (...) particular, which, when brought together with Kant's work, allows for the elucidation of several key issues and the reinterpretation of many hitherto opaque and long debated passages. (shrink)
Truth Through Proof defends an anti-platonist philosophy of mathematics derived from game formalism. Classic formalists claimed implausibly that mathematical utterances are truth-valueless moves in a game. Alan Weir aims to develop a more satisfactory successor to game formalism utilising a widely accepted, broadly neo-Fregean framework, in which the proposition expressed by an utterance is a function of both sense and background circumstance. This framework allows for sentences whose truth-conditions are not representational, which are made true or false by conditions (...) residing in the circumstances of utterances but not transparently in the sense. Applications to projectivism and fiction pave the way for the claim that mathematical utterances are made true or false by the existence of concrete proofs or refutations, though these truth-making conditions form no part of their sense or informational content. The position is compared with rivals, an account of the applicability of mathematics developed, and a new account of the nature of idealisation proffered in which it is argued that the finitistic limitations Gödel placed on proofs are without rational justification. Finally a non-classical logical system is provided in which excluded middle fails, yet enough logical power remains to recapture the results of standard mathematics. (shrink)
This_classic undergraduate text_elegantly acquaints students with the_fundamental concepts and methods of mathematics. In addition to introducing_many noteworthy historical figures_from the 18th through the mid-20th centuries, it examines_the axiomatic method, set theory, infinite sets, the linear continuum and the real number system, groups, intuitionism,_formal systems, mathematical logic, and other topics.
In this book, Balaguer demonstrates that there are no good arguments for or against mathematical platonism. He does this by establishing that both platonism and anti-platonism are defensible views. Introducing a form of platonism ("full-blooded platonism") that solves all problems traditionally associated with the view, he proceeds to defend anti-platonism (in particular, mathematical fictionalism) against various attacks, most notably the Quine-Putnam indispensability attack. He concludes by arguing that it is not simply that we do not currently have any good argument (...) for or against platonism, but that we could never have such an argument and, indeed, that there is no fact of the matter as to whether platonism is correct. (shrink)
Of all twentieth century philosophers, it is Gilles Deleuze whose work agitates most forcefully for a worldview privileging becoming over being, difference over sameness; the world as a complex, open set of multiplicities. Nevertheless, Deleuze remains singular in enlisting mathematical resources to underpin and inform such a position, refusing the hackneyed opposition between ‘static’ mathematical logic versus ‘dynamic’ physical world. This is an international collection of work commissioned from foremost philosophers, mathematicians and philosophers of science, to address the wide range (...) of problematics and influences in this most important strand of Deleuze’s thinking. Contributors are Charles Alunni, Alain Badiou, Gilles Châtelet, Manuel DeLanda, Simon Duffy, Robin Durie, Aden Evens, Arkady Plotnitsky, Jean-Michel Salanskis, Daniel Smith and David Webb. (shrink)
The Pythagorean idea that numbers are the key to understanding reality inspired philosophers in late Antiquity (4th and 5th centuries A.D.) to develop theories in physics and metaphysics based on mathematical models. This book draws on some newly discovered evidence, including fragments of Iamblichus's On Pythagoreanism, to examine these early theories and trace their influence on later Neoplatonists (particularly Proclus and Syrianus) and on medieval and early modern philosophy.