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.
Our first aim is to make the study of informal notions of proof plausible. Put differently, since the raison d'étre of anything like existing proof theory seems to rest on such notions, the aim is nothing else but to make a case for proof theory; ...
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
The distinction between the discrete and the continuous lies at the heart of mathematics. Discrete mathematics (arithmetic, algebra, combinatorics, graph theory, cryptography, logic) has a set of concepts, techniques, and application areas largely distinct from continuous mathematics (traditional geometry, calculus, most of functional analysis, differential equations, topology). The interaction between the two – for example in computer models of continuous systems such as fluid flow – is a central issue in the applicable mathematics of the last (...) hundred years. This article explains the distinction and why it has proved to be one of the great organizing themes of mathematics. (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)
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)
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)
In order to address to the relation between philosophy and mathematics it is first necessary to distinguish the grand style and the little style. The little style painstakingly constructs mathematics as the object for philosophical scrutiny. It is called the little style for a precise reason, because it assigns mathematics to the subservient role of that which supports the definition and perpetuation of a philosophical specialisation. This specialisation is called the ‘philosophy of mathematics’, where the ‘of’ (...) is objective. The philosophy of mathematics can in turn be inscribed under the area of specialisation that supports the name ‘epistemology and history of science’, an area to which corresponds a specialised bureaucracy in the academic authorities and committees whose role it is to manage the personnel of researchers and teachers. But in philosophy, specialisation is invariably the means by which the little style insinuates itself. In Lacan terms, this occurs through the collapse of the discourse of the Master, which is rooted in the signifier of the same name, the S1 that gives rise to a signifying chain, onto the discourse of the University, that perpetual commentary which adequately represents the second moment of all speech, that is, the S2 which only exists by making the Master disappear under the commentary which exhausts it. The little style of the philosophy of mathematics, and of its epistemology, strives for such a disappearance of the ontological sovereignty of mathematics, its instituting aristocratism, its unrivalled mastery, by confining its dramatic and almost incomprehensible existence to a generally dusty compartment of academic specialisation. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the distinction between methods which are mathematically "clever", and those which are simply crude, typically repetitive and computer intensive, approaches for "crunching" out answers to problems. Examples of the latter include simulated probability distributions and resampling methods in statistics, and iterative methods for solving equations or optimisation problems. Most of these methods require software support, but this is easily provided by a PC. The paper argues that the crunchier methods often have substantial advantages from the perspectives (...) of user-friendliness, reliability (in the sense that misuse is less likely), educational efficiency and realism. This means that they offer very considerable potential for simplifying the mathematical syllabus underlying many areas of applied mathematics such as management science and statistics: crunchier methods can provide the same, or greater, technical power, flexibility and insight, while requiring only a fraction of the mathematical conceptual background needed by their cleverer brethren. (shrink)
In Difference and Repetition, Deleuze explores the manner by means of which concepts are implicated in the problematic Idea by using a mathematics problem as an example, the elements of which are the differentials of the differential calculus. What I would like to offer in the present paper is a historical account of the mathematical problematic that Deleuze deploys in his philosophy, and an introduction to the role played by this problematic in the development of his philosophy of difference. (...) One of the points of departure that I will take from the history of mathematics is the theme of ‘power series’ (Deleuze 1994, 114), which will involve a detailed elaboration of the mechanism by means of which power series operate in the differential calculus deployed by Deleuze in Difference and Repetition. Deleuze actually constructs an alternative history of mathematics that establishes a historical continuity between the differential point of view of the infinitesimal calculus and modern theories of the differential calculus. It is in relation to this differential point of view that Deleuze determines a differential logic which he deploys, in the form of a logic of different/ciation, in the development of his project of constructing a philosophy of difference. (shrink)
It is possible today to observe in hindsight the epistemological landscape of the twentieth century, and the work of Albert Lautman in mathematical philosophy appears as a profound turning point, opening to a true under- standing of creativity in mathematics and its relation with the real. Little understood in its time or even today, Lautman’s work explores the difficult but exciting intersection where modern mathematics, advanced mathe- matical invention, the structural or unitary relations of mathematical knowledge and, finally, (...) the metaphysical and dialectical tensions underly- ing mathematical activity converge. Well beyond other better-known names in philosophy of mathematics – who are focused above all on ques- tions concerning the logical problem of foundations, important but frag- mentary studies in the vast panorama of modern mathematics – Lautman broaches the emergence of inventiveness in the very broad spectrum of the development of the mathematical real. Group theory, differential geome- try, algebraic topology, differential equations, functional analysis, functions of complex variables and number fields are some of the domains of his preferred examples. He detects in them methods of construction, structu- ration and unification of modern mathematics that he connects to a precise Platonic interpretation in which powerful pairs of ideas serve to organize the edifice of effective mathematics. (shrink)
The collection Virtual Mathematics: the logic of difference brings together a range of new philosophical engagements with mathematics, using the work of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze as its focus. Deleuze’s engagements with mathematics rely upon the construction of alternative lineages in the history of mathematics in order to reconfigure particular philosophical problems and to develop new concepts. These alternative conceptual histories also challenge some of the self-imposed limits of the discipline of mathematics, and suggest the (...) possibility of forging new connections between philosophy and more recent developments in mathematics. This component of Deleuze’s work has, to date, been rather neglected by commentators working in the field of Deleuze studies. One of the aims of this collection is to address this critical deficit by providing a philosophical presentation of Deleuze’s relation to mathematics; one that is adequate to his project of constructing a philosophy of difference and to the exploration of some of its applications. This project developed as a result of encounters with an increasing number of researchers who have been working on the mathematical aspects of Deleuze’s work and the key role that these play in his philosophy. By bringing this work together for the first time, this collection makes an important contribution to the emerging body of work that endeavours to explore the broad range of Deleuze’s philosophy. (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.
Mary Leng defends a philosophical account of the nature of mathematics which views it as a kind of fiction. On this view, the claims of our ordinary mathematical theories are more closely analogous to utterances made in the context of storytelling than to utterances whose aim is to assert literal truths.
Some have argued for a division of epistemic labor in which mathematicians supply truths and philosophers supply their necessity. We argue that this is wrong: mathematics is committed to its own necessity. Counterfactuals play a starring role.
An Aristotelian Philosophy of Mathematics breaks the impasse between Platonist and nominalist views of mathematics. Neither a study of abstract objects nor a mere language or logic, mathematics is a science of real aspects of the world as much as biology is. For the first time, a philosophy of mathematics puts applied mathematics at the centre. Quantitative aspects of the world such as ratios of heights, and structural ones such as symmetry and continuity, are parts (...) of the physical world and are objects of mathematics. Though some mathematical structures such as infinities may be too big to be realized in fact, all of them are capable of being realized. Informed by the author's background in both philosophy and mathematics, but keeping to simple examples, the book shows how infant perception of patterns is extended by visualization and proof to the vast edifice of modern pure and applied mathematical knowledge. (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)
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)
In these days, there is an increasing technological development in intelligent tutoring systems. This field has become interesting to many researchers. In this paper, we present an intelligent tutoring system for teaching mathematics that help students understand the basics of math and that helps a lot of students of all ages to understand the topic because it's important for students of adding and subtracting. Through which the student will be able to study the course and solve related problems. An (...) evaluation of the intelligent tutoring systems was carried out and the results were encouraging. (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)
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)
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)
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)
It is a striking fact from reverse mathematics that almost all theorems of countable and countably representable mathematics are equivalent to just five subsystems of second order arithmetic. The standard view is that the significance of these equivalences lies in the set existence principles that are necessary and sufficient to prove those theorems. In this article I analyse the role of set existence principles in reverse mathematics, and argue that they are best understood as closure conditions on (...) the powerset of the natural numbers. (shrink)
Offering a collection of fifteen essays that deal with issues at the intersection of phenomenology, logic, and the philosophy of mathematics, this 2005 book is divided into three parts. Part I 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, Poincaré and Frege. (shrink)
First published in 1974. Despite the tendency of contemporary analytic philosophy to put logic and mathematics at a central position, the author argues it failed to appreciate or account for their rich content. Through discussions of such mathematical concepts as number, the continuum, set, proof and mechanical procedure, the author provides an introduction to the philosophy of mathematics and an internal criticism of the then current academic philosophy. The material presented is also an illustration of a new, more (...) general method of approach called substantial factualism which the author asserts allows for the development of a more comprehensive philosophical position by not trivialising or distorting substantial facts of human knowledge. (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.
I offer an alternative account of the relationship of Hobbesian geometry to natural philosophy by arguing that mixed mathematics provided Hobbes with a model for thinking about it. In mixed mathematics, one may borrow causal principles from one science and use them in another science without there being a deductive relationship between those two sciences. Natural philosophy for Hobbes is mixed because an explanation may combine observations from experience (the ‘that’) with causal principles from geometry (the ‘why’). My (...) argument shows that Hobbesian natural philosophy relies upon suppositions that bodies plausibly behave according to these borrowed causal principles from geometry, acknowledging that bodies in the world may not actually behave this way. First, I consider Hobbes's relation to Aristotelian mixed mathematics and to Isaac Barrow's broadening of mixed mathematics in Mathematical Lectures (1683). I show that for Hobbes maker's knowledge from geometry provides the ‘why’ in mixed-mathematical explanations. Next, I examine two explanations from De corpore Part IV: (1) the explanation of sense in De corpore 25.1-2; and (2) the explanation of the swelling of parts of the body when they become warm in De corpore 27.3. In both explanations, I show Hobbes borrowing and citing geometrical principles and mixing these principles with appeals to experience. (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.