Philosophy of Mathematics

Philosophy of Mathematics

4 (17 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 
Free delivery worldwide Expected delivery to the United States in 8-11 business days.
Not ordering to the United States? Click here.
Order now for expected delivery to the United States by Christmas Order now for expected delivery to the United States by Christmas


A sophisticated, original introduction to the philosophy of mathematics from one of its leading contemporary scholars Mathematics is one of humanity's most successful yet puzzling endeavors. It is a model of precision and objectivity, but appears distinct from the empirical sciences because it seems to deliver nonexperiential knowledge of a nonphysical reality of numbers, sets, and functions. How can these two aspects of mathematics be reconciled? This concise book provides a systematic yet accessible introduction to the field that is trying to answer that question: the philosophy of mathematics. Written by Oystein Linnebo, one of the world's leading scholars on the subject, the book introduces all of the classical approaches to the field, including logicism, formalism, intuitionism, empiricism, and structuralism. It also contains accessible introductions to some more specialized issues, such as mathematical intuition, potential infinity, the iterative conception of sets, and the search for new mathematical axioms. The groundbreaking work of German mathematician and philosopher Gottlob Frege, one of the founders of analytic philosophy, figures prominently throughout the book.
Other important thinkers whose work is introduced and discussed include Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, David Hilbert, Kurt Godel, W. V. Quine, Paul Benacerraf, and Hartry H. Field. Sophisticated but clear and approachable, this is an essential introduction for all students and teachers of philosophy, as well as mathematicians and others who want to understand the foundations of mathematics.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 216 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 22.86mm | 369g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 0691161402
  • 9780691161402
  • 341,925

Back cover copy

"This is an excellent introduction to the philosophy of mathematics, with clear and careful coverage of both traditional topics and cutting-edge contemporary debates."--Roy T. Cook, University of Minnesota

"This is a good introduction to the philosophy of mathematics--clear and concise, and with original observations and a coherent point of view."--John P. Burgess, Princeton University
show more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments vii Introduction 1 1 Mathematics as a Philosophical Challenge 4 2 Frege's Logicism 21 3 Formalism and Deductivism 38 4 Hilbert's Program 56 5 Intuitionism 73 6 Empiricism about Mathematics 88 7 Nominalism 101 8 Mathematical Intuition 116 9 Abstraction Reconsidered 126 10 The Iterative Conception of Sets 139 11 Structuralism 154 12 The Quest for New Axioms 170 Concluding Remarks 183 Bibliography 189 Index 199
show more

Review Text

"This is a good introduction to the philosophy of mathematics--clear and concise, and with original observations and a coherent point of view."--John P. Burgess, Princeton University
show more

Review quote

"Excellent. . . . [A]n exceptionally well-informed, very readable and clear introduction to the subject. If you are looking for an entry point into the extensive philosophical literature on the nature of mathematics, look no further."---A. C. Paseau, Mathematical Gazette "Linnebo's slender volume is an admirable addition to the many existing books on the philosophy of mathematics. It is clear, concise, and well written. . . . All in all, this is an excellent introduction to the philosophy of mathematics and should be seriously considered by any individual interested in the subject." * Choice * "This is a thought-provoking book, and is a useful addition to the textbook literature on this subject." * MAA Reviews * "This book provides a nice lay of the land for anyone interested in contemporary philosophy of mathematics."---Gregory Lavers, Philosophia Mathematica "[This book] is very, very good. Superbly clear, concise, well organised, it gives not only a very accessible introduction but also takes the reader all the way to the cutting edge of what philosophers are doing in the philosophy of mathematics. Above all, Linnebo writes as a fully engaged philosopher and makes his preferred choice of philosophical position clear. But this is no mere polemic: I felt he clearly and forcefully presents the strengths and weaknesses of all the philosophical positions he discusses."---Henri Laurie, Mathemafrica
show more

About Oystein Linnebo

Oystein Linnebo is professor of philosophy at the University of Oslo, and previously held positions in Bristol, London, and Oxford. He is the coeditor of New Waves in the Philosophy of Mathematics and the author of Thin Objects: An Abstractionist Approach (forthcoming).
show more

Rating details

17 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 24% (4)
4 59% (10)
3 12% (2)
2 6% (1)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X