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 inspiring 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.
A comprehensive collection of historical readings in the philosophy of mathematics and a selection of influential contemporary work, this much-needed introduction reveals the rich history of the subject. An Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mathematics: A Reader brings together an impressive collection of primary sources from ancient and modern philosophy. Arranged chronologically and featuring introductory overviews explaining technical terms, this accessible reader is easy-to-follow and unrivaled in its historical scope. With selections from key thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume and Kant, it connects the major ideas of the ancients with contemporary thinkers. A selection of recent texts from philosophers including Quine, Putnam, Field and Maddy offering insights into the current state of the discipline clearly illustrates the development of the subject. Presenting historical background essential to understanding contemporary trends and a survey of recent work, An Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mathematics: A Reader is required reading for undergraduates and graduate students studying the philosophy of mathematics and an invaluable source book for working researchers.
This is a one-of-a-kind reference for anyone with a serious interest in mathematics. Edited by Timothy Gowers, a recipient of the Fields Medal, it presents nearly two hundred entries, written especially for this book by some of the world's leading mathematicians, that introduce basic mathematical tools and vocabulary; trace the development of modern mathematics; explain essential terms and concepts; examine core ideas in major areas of mathematics; describe the achievements of scores of famous mathematicians; explore the impact of mathematics on other disciplines such as biology, finance, and music--and much, much more. Unparalleled in its depth of coverage, The Princeton Companion to Mathematics surveys the most active and exciting branches of pure mathematics. Accessible in style, this is an indispensable resource for undergraduate and graduate students in mathematics as well as for researchers and scholars seeking to understand areas outside their specialties. Features nearly 200 entries, organized thematically and written by an international team of distinguished contributors Presents major ideas and branches of pure mathematics in a clear, accessible style Defines and explains important mathematical concepts, methods, theorems, and open problems Introduces the language of mathematics and the goals of mathematical research Covers number theory, algebra, analysis, geometry, logic, probability, and more Traces the history and development of modern mathematics Profiles more than ninety-five mathematicians who influenced those working today Explores the influence of mathematics on other disciplines Includes bibliographies, cross-references, and a comprehensive index Contributors incude: Graham Allan, Noga Alon, George Andrews, Tom Archibald, Sir Michael Atiyah, David Aubin, Joan Bagaria, Keith Ball, June Barrow-Green, Alan Beardon, David D. Ben-Zvi, Vitaly Bergelson, Nicholas Bingham, Béla Bollobás, Henk Bos, Bodil Branner, Martin R. Bridson, John P. Burgess, Kevin Buzzard, Peter J. Cameron, Jean-Luc Chabert, Eugenia Cheng, Clifford C. Cocks, Alain Connes, Leo Corry, Wolfgang Coy, Tony Crilly, Serafina Cuomo, Mihalis Dafermos, Partha Dasgupta, Ingrid Daubechies, Joseph W. Dauben, John W. Dawson Jr., Francois de Gandt, Persi Diaconis, Jordan S. Ellenberg, Lawrence C. Evans, Florence Fasanelli, Anita Burdman Feferman, Solomon Feferman, Charles Fefferman, Della Fenster, José Ferreirós, David Fisher, Terry Gannon, A. Gardiner, Charles C. Gillispie, Oded Goldreich, Catherine Goldstein, Fernando Q. Gouvêa, Timothy Gowers, Andrew Granville, Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Jeremy Gray, Ben Green, Ian Grojnowski, Niccolò Guicciardini, Michael Harris, Ulf Hashagen, Nigel Higson, Andrew Hodges, F. E. A. Johnson, Mark Joshi, Kiran S. Kedlaya, Frank Kelly, Sergiu Klainerman, Jon Kleinberg, Israel Kleiner, Jacek Klinowski, Eberhard Knobloch, János Kollár, T. W. Körner, Michael Krivelevich, Peter D. Lax, Imre Leader, Jean-François Le Gall, W. B. R. Lickorish, Martin W. Liebeck, Jesper Lützen, Des MacHale, Alan L. Mackay, Shahn Majid, Lech Maligranda, David Marker, Jean Mawhin, Barry Mazur, Dusa McDuff, Colin McLarty, Bojan Mohar, Peter M. Neumann, Catherine Nolan, James Norris, Brian Osserman, Richard S. Palais, Marco Panza, Karen Hunger Parshall, Gabriel P. Paternain, Jeanne Peiffer, Carl Pomerance, Helmut Pulte, Bruce Reed, Michael C. Reed, Adrian Rice, Eleanor Robson, Igor Rodnianski, John Roe, Mark Ronan, Edward Sandifer, Tilman Sauer, Norbert Schappacher, Andrzej Schinzel, Erhard Scholz, Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze, Gordon Slade, David J. Spiegelhalter, Jacqueline Stedall, Arild Stubhaug, Madhu Sudan, Terence Tao, Jamie Tappenden, C. H. Taubes, Rüdiger Thiele, Burt Totaro, Lloyd N. Trefethen, Dirk van Dalen, Richard Weber, Dominic Welsh, Avi Wigderson, Herbert Wilf, David Wilkins, B. Yandell, Eric Zaslow, Doron Zeilberger
What is mathematics about? Does the subject-matter of mathematics exist independently of the mind or are they mental constructions? How do we know mathematics? Is mathematical knowledge logical knowledge? And how is mathematics applied to the material world? In this introduction to the philosophy of mathematics, Michele Friend examines these and other ontological and epistemological problems raised by the content and practice of mathematics. Aimed at a readership with limited proficiency in mathematics but with some experience of formal logic it seeks to strike a balance between conceptual accessibility and correct representation of the issues. Friend examines the standard theories of mathematics - Platonism, realism, logicism, formalism, constructivism and structuralism - as well as some less standard theories such as psychologism, fictionalism and Meinongian philosophy of mathematics. In each case Friend explains what characterises the position and where the divisions between them lie, including some of the arguments in favour and against each. This book also explores particular questions that occupy present-day philosophers and mathematicians such as the problem of infinity, mathematical intuition and the relationship, if any, between the philosophy of mathematics and the practice of mathematics. Taking in the canonical ideas of Aristotle, Kant, Frege and Whitehead and Russell as well as the challenging and innovative work of recent philosophers like Benacerraf, Hellman, Maddy and Shapiro, Friend provides a balanced and accessible introduction suitable for upper-level undergraduate courses and the non-specialist.
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.
A Study in the History and Philosophy of Mathematics
Author: S. Gandon
In this excellent book Sebastien Gandon focuses mainly on Russell's two major texts, Principa Mathematica and Principle of Mathematics , meticulously unpicking the details of these texts and bringing a new interpretation of both the mathematical and the philosophical content. Winner of The Bertrand Russell Society Book Award 2013.
Not to be confused with the philosophy of mathematics, mathematical philosophy is the structured set of rules that govern all existence. Or, in a word: logic. While this branch of philosophy threatens to be an intimidating and abstract subject, it is one that is surprisingly simple and necessarily sensible, particularly at the pen of writer Bertrand Russell, who infuses this work, first published in 1919, with a palpable and genuine desire to assist the reader in understanding the principles he illustrates. Anyone interested in logic and its development and application here will find a comprehensive and accessible account of mathematical philosophy, from the idea of what numbers actually are, through the principles of order, limits, and deduction, and on to infinity. British philosopher and mathematician BERTRAND ARTHUR WILLIAM RUSSELL (1872-1970) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Among his many works are Why I Am Not a Christian (1927), Power: A New Social Analysis (1938), and My Philosophical Development (1959).
In Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell gives a description of different forms of suppression. We learn about the telescreens placed everywhere, through which it is possible for Big-Brother to watch the inhabitants of Oceania. However, it is not only important to control the activities of the inhabitants, it is important as well to control their thoughts, and the Thought Police are on guard. This is a very direct form of monitoring and control, but Orwell also outlines a more imperceptible and calculated line of thought control. In the Appendix to Nineteen Eighty-Four Orwell explains some struc tures of 'Newspeak', which is going to become the official language of Oceania. Newspeak is being developed by the Ministry of Truth, and this language has to substitute 'Oldspeak' (similar to standard English). Newspeak should fit with the official politics of Oceania ruled by the Ingsoc party: "The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impos sible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought - that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc - should be literally unthink able, at least as far as thought is dependent on words.