Course module - Philosophy of Mathematics **FOR 2013/14**
Code : PHIL30721 Credit rating: 20 Semester : 1
The course aims to:
• give a detailed understanding of some important debates within contemporary philosophy of mathematics;
• enable students to engage critically with some recent contributions to these debates; and
• enhance students’ powers of critical analysis, reasoning and independent thought.
Objectives (Learning Outcomes)
On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to demonstrate:
• a detailed critical understanding of some important debates within contemporary philosophy of mathematics;
• a thorough knowledge of some recent contributions to these debates; and
• an ability to present carefully-argued and independent lines of thought in this area.
Pre-requisites: 40 PHIL credits at Level 2
This course will introduce students to the lively contemporary debate over the metaphysics of mathematics. Are there such things as numbers (or other mathematical objects)? If so, what they are like, and how do we manage to acquire knowledge of them? If these objects do not exist, then what is it that we know when we know that 2+2=4?
Discussion of technicalities will be kept to a minimum, and no special expertise in mathematics will be assumed. The arguments discussed raise important questions about the relation of philosophy to mathematics, science, and ordinary talk and belief; the course will place particular stress on these issues.
Liggins, Dr David
LECTURE: Tuesdays 9.00-10.00 am and 1.00-2.00 pm
Two one-hour lectures and one one-hour tutorial weekly
Shapiro, Stewart 2000. Thinking About Mathematics, chapters 1 and 2.
Colyvan, Mark 2001. The Indispensability of Mathematics, chapters 1, 2, 4, 5.
philosophy of mathematics