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Unit information: Philosophy of Mathematics in 2020/21

Unit name Philosophy of Mathematics
Unit code PHIL20039
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Fujimoto
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The unit gives an overview of the main theories in contemporary philosophy of mathematics. It starts with a discussion of the three main foundational schools of the first half of the twentieth century (logicism, intuitionism, formalism). Then the unit further goes on to study recent developments in the philosophy of mathematics such as a modern form of Platonism, nominalism, and structuralism.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate detailed knowledge and in-depth understanding of the central questions and positions in the philosophy of mathematics,
  2. demonstrate the ability to philosophically engage with, and critically analyse, those questions and positions at a standard appropriate to level I/5,
  3. work together collaboratively with others to collectively present and explain technical material orally in a manner accessible to a wider audience.

Teaching details

Lectures, small group work, individual exercises, seminars and virtual learning environment.

Assessment Details

Formative collaborative digital presentation [ILOs (1)-(3)] + Summative: Open book take home exam - 100% [ILOs (1)-(2)]

Reading and References

Key reading:

Shapiro, S. Thinking About Mathematics, OUP, 2000