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Unit information: Philosophy of Mathematics in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

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

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

Assessment Details


Group presentation (15%) [ILOs (1)-(3)]

3-hour unseen exam (85%) [ILOs (1)-(2)]

Reading and References

Key reading:

Shapiro, S. Thinking About Mathematics, OUP, 2000