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In this ambitious study, David Corfield attacks the widely held view that it is the nature of mathematical knowledge which has shaped the way in which mathematics is treated philosophically and claims that contingent factors have brought us to the present thematically limited discipline. Illustrating his discussion with a wealth of examples, he sets out a variety of approaches to new thinking about the philosophy of mathematics, ranging from an exploration of whether computers producing mathematical proofs or conjectures are doing real mathematics, to the use of analogy, the prospects for a Bayesian confirmation theory, the notion of a mathematical research programme and the ways in which new concepts are justified. His inspiring book challenges both philosophers and mathematicians to develop the broadest and richest philosophical resources for work in their disciplines and points clearly to the ways in which this can be done.
This introduction to the philosophy of mathematics focuses on contemporary debates in an important and central area of philosophy. The reader is taken on a fascinating and entertaining journey through some intriguing mathematical and philosophical territory, including such topics as the realism/anti-realism debate in mathematics, mathematical explanation, the limits of mathematics, the significance of mathematical notation, inconsistent mathematics and the applications of mathematics. Each chapter has a number of discussion questions and recommended further reading from both the contemporary literature and older sources. Very little mathematical background is assumed and all of the mathematics encountered is clearly introduced and explained using a wide variety of examples. The book is suitable for an undergraduate course in philosophy of mathematics and, more widely, for anyone interested in philosophy and mathematics.
This truly philosophical book takes us back to fundamentals - the sheer experience of proof, and the enigmatic relation of mathematics to nature. It asks unexpected questions, such as 'what makes mathematics mathematics?', 'where did proof come from and how did it evolve?', and 'how did the distinction between pure and applied mathematics come into being?' In a wide-ranging discussion that is both immersed in the past and unusually attuned to the competing philosophical ideas of contemporary mathematicians, it shows that proof and other forms of mathematical exploration continue to be living, evolving practices - responsive to new technologies, yet embedded in permanent (and astonishing) facts about human beings. It distinguishes several distinct types of application of mathematics, and shows how each leads to a different philosophical conundrum. Here is a remarkable body of new philosophical thinking about proofs, applications, and other mathematical activities.
For the majority of the twentieth century, philosophers of mathematics focused their attention on foundational questions. However, in the last quarter of the century they began to return to basics, and two new schools of thought were created: social constructivism and structuralism. The advent of the computer also led to proofs and development of mathematics assisted by computer, and to questions concerning the role of the computer in mathematics. This book of sixteen original essays is the first to explore this range of new developments in the philosophy of mathematics, in a language accessible to mathematicians. Approximately half the essays were written by mathematicians, and consider questions that philosophers have not yet discussed. The other half, written by philosophers of mathematics, summarise the discussion in that community during the last 35 years. A connection is made in each case to issues relevant to the teaching of mathematics.
In the four decades since Imre Lakatos declared mathematics a "quasi-empirical science," increasing attention has been paid to the process of proof and argumentation in the field -- a development paralleled by the rise of computer technology and the mounting interest in the logical underpinnings of mathematics. Explanantion and Proof in Mathematics assembles perspectives from mathematics education and from the philosophy and history of mathematics to strengthen mutual awareness and share recent findings and advances in their interrelated fields. With examples ranging from the geometrists of the 17th century and ancient Chinese algorithms to cognitive psychology and current educational practice, contributors explore the role of refutation in generating proofs, the varied links between experiment and deduction, the use of diagrammatic thinking in addition to pure logic, and the uses of proof in mathematics education (including a critique of "authoritative" versus "authoritarian" teaching styles). A sampling of the coverage: The conjoint origins of proof and theoretical physics in ancient Greece. Proof as bearers of mathematical knowledge. Bridging knowing and proving in mathematical reasoning. The role of mathematics in long-term cognitive development of reasoning. Proof as experiment in the work of Wittgenstein. Relationships between mathematical proof, problem-solving, and explanation. Explanation and Proof in Mathematics is certain to attract a wide range of readers, including mathematicians, mathematics education professionals, researchers, students, and philosophers and historians of mathematics.
A panoramic survey of the vast spectrum of modern and contemporary mathematics and the new philosophical possibilities they suggest. A panoramic survey of the vast spectrum of modern and contemporary mathematics and the new philosophical possibilities they suggest, this book gives the inquisitive non-specialist an insight into the conceptual transformations and intellectual orientations of modern and contemporary mathematics. The predominant analytic approach, with its focus on the formal, the elementary and the foundational, has effectively divorced philosophy from the real practice of mathematics and the profound conceptual shifts in the discipline over the last century. The first part discusses the specificity of modern (1830-1950) and contemporary (1950 to the present) mathematics, and reviews the failure of mainstream philosophy of mathematics to address this specificity. Building on the work of the few exceptional thinkers to have engaged with the "real mathematics" of their era (including Lautman, Deleuze, Badiou, de Lorenzo and Châtelet), Zalamea challenges philosophy's self-imposed ignorance of the "making of mathematics." In the second part, thirteen detailed case studies examine the greatest creators in the field, mapping the central advances accomplished in mathematics over the last half-century, exploring in vivid detail the characteristic creative gestures of modern master Grothendieck and contemporary creators including Lawvere, Shelah, Connes, and Freyd. Drawing on these concrete examples, and oriented by a unique philosophical constellation (Peirce, Lautman, Merleau-Ponty), in the third part Zalamea sets out the program for a sophisticated new epistemology, one that will avail itself of the powerful conceptual instruments forged by the mathematical mind, but which have until now remained largely neglected by philosophers.

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