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Unit information: Philosophy of Mathematics in 2018/19

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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. Everett
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 demonstrate:

  1. comprehensive knowledge of the main questions and schools of thought in modern philosophy of mathematics
  2. an ability to engage with these questions at a standard appropriate to level I
  3. skills in philosophical argumentation.

Teaching details

22 x 1-hour lectures + 11 x 1-hour seminars

Assessment Details

Formative: 2 x 2,500 word essays (ILOs 1-3)

Summative: 3 hour unseen exam (ILOs 1-3)

Reading and References

Key reading:

Shapiro, S. Thinking About Mathematics, OUP, 2000