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Philosophy of Mathematics (PH342-15)

Timing & CATS

This module is not running in 2017-18.

Module Description

This module will be a survey of philosophy of mathematics. We will begin by focusing on classical (Plato and Aristotle) and modern (Descartes, Kant, and Mill) sources. We will then turn to the major foundational schools of the early 20th century: logicism (Frege and Russell), intuitionism (Brouwer and Heyting) and formalism (Hilbert). We’ll next consider the early development of set theory and the major limitative results of the 1930s (e.g. Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems) and inquire into their significance with respect to mathematical knowledge, provability, truth, and ontology. Finally we will survey several recent philosophical proposals about the nature of mathematics (structuralism, nominalism, fictionalism).

Learning Outcomes or Aims

By the end of the module the student should be able to: 1) demonstrate knowledge of some of the central topics in the philosophy of mathematics, and of the history; 2) understand the significance questions in the philosophy of mathematics have to wider issues in philosophy and the foundations of mathematics; 3) articulate their own view of the relative merits of different theories and engage critically with the arguments put forward in support of them.

Contact Time

In this module students must attend 2 hours of lectures and a one hour seminar per week

Lectures for 2014-15

  • Mondays 12pm-2pm F1.10
  • Mondays 6pm-7pm MS.04

This module is formally assessed in the following way:

  • 100% examined (2 hour exam)
  • 100% assessed (2500 word essay)

Course materials from

Previous years

Please be aware that these materials may not be relevant to the current version of this module; they are intended primarily for students who took the module in other years.

Module Tutor


Walter Dean

w dot h dot dean at warwick dot ac dot uk