Philosophy of mathematics

The philosophy of mathematics plays an important role in analytic philosophy, both as a subject of inquiry in its own right, and as an important landmark in the broader philosophical landscape. Mathematical knowledge has long been regarded as a paradigm of human knowledge with truths that are both necessary and certain, so giving an account of mathematical knowledge is an important part of epistemology. Mathematical objects like numbers and sets are archetypical examples of abstracta, since we treat such objects in our discourse as though they are independent of time and space; finding a place for such objects in a broader framework of thought is a central task of ontology, or metaphysics. The rigor and precision of mathematical language depends on the fact that it is based on a limited vocabulary and very structured grammar, and semantic accounts of mathematical discourse often serve as a starting point for the philosophy of language. Although mathematical thought has exhibited a strong degree of stability through history, the practice has also evolved over time, and some developments have evoked controversy and debate; clarifying the basic goals of the practice and the methods that are appropriate to it is therefore an important foundational and methodological task, locating the philosophy of mathematics within the broader philosophy of science.
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