Topics in Philosophy of Mathematics
What is the nature of mathematical knowledge, as compared to knowledge of the natural world? What, if any, is the connection between the two? What role does mathematics play in empirical sciences such as physics? What role does philosophy play in clarifying the foundations of mathematics? Do abstract objects, such as numbers, exist? Is mathematics somehow true of our world, or is it merely an ingenious language devised by humans to address all sorts of problems?
In this class, we will address these questions and study how leading philosophers and mathematicians have attempted to answer them, giving special attention to the influential schools of logicism, formalism, and intuitionism. No prior college mathematics or philosophy is presupposed, although both will be helpful. Since it offers a focal point for many issues raised in the class, I will give a self-contained introduction to set theory.