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Philosophy of Mathematics
2008/2009; 1st Semester
Institute for Logic, Language & Computation
Universiteit van Amsterdam

Instructor: Dr Benedikt Löwe
Vakcode: MoLPM6
Time: Wednesday, 13-15
Place: P.016
ECTS credit points: 6
Course language: English
Intended Audience: M.Sc. students of Logic and Mathematics, M.A. students of Philosophy

Objectives. This course is both a course for philosophers (with sufficient formal skills) to learn something about a particular and peculiar branch of philosophy of science dealing with abstract entities, and a course for logicians to see connections between the history and mathematical investigation of logic and their applications in philosophy.

Contents. Philosophy of Mathematics is perceived as different from Philosophy of Science. The main reason for this is that mathematics is seen as special. It is special as it deals with abstract objects using the method of deduction; as a consequence of this, it generates the only certain knowledge we have in science. Or does it? Is mathematics as special as we tend to think it is? We'll start off by some modern accounts of the special nature of mathematics, then go through the history of philosophy of mathematics to see the standard approaches (Platonism, Logicism, Formalism, Intuitionism, Naturalism). After this, we return to contemporary discussions of the nature of mathematics.

Format. Student presentations, plenary discussions, term paper (see the example for a paper structure).

Study material.


Last update : 9 December 2008