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Philosophy of Mathematics 2ed: Selected Readings Paperback – 27 Jan 1984

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Product details

  • Paperback: 612 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (27 Jan. 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052129648X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521296489
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.5 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 269,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Book Description

The present collection brings together in a convenient form the seminal articles in the philosophy of mathematics by these and other major thinkers. It is a substantially revised version of the edition first published in 1964 and includes a revised bibliography. The volume will be welcomed as a major work of reference at this level in the field.

From the Back Cover

In a similar vein, we tried also to narrow the range of philosophical issues discussed in the selection ones that could most easily be recognized as concerning the philosophy of mathematics. Both of these admittedly loose principles served as guidelines only; but any attempt to observe them inevitably constrains the range of literature available for consideration.

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Format: Paperback
Contains a very comprehensive collection of the most influential papers for the philosophy of maths, covering historical developments and the many of the most important topics in the literature.

It's an excellent introduction to the debates for the beginner and a must-have reference for the graduate.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent standard selection 11 Mar. 2011
By Flash Sheridan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent standard selection of classic works in the field; indeed, by now, that is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, since inclusion in this anthology is approximately the definition of classic. The essays cover a broad range of positions, many of which (of course) I disagree with. But they're almost all well worth reading--my particular favorite is the unpopular part of Godel's Platonism, which is a useful antidote to overconfidence that these matters are settled.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Five Musts, and a 6th sleeper, but Not Many More! 21 Jun. 2014
By Let's Compare Options Preptorial - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The amazing thing about the little handful of books on Mathematical Philosophy--2 by Shapiro, Frege, Russell and of course Benacerraf and Putnam's classic, is the paucity of literature in this key field!
Some will say that mathematical philosophy, or the closely related philosophy of mathematics, only began in the 1980's in earnest. But reading the "big 5" shows threads going back to antiquity. The field is far from settled, and the two aspects--the philosophy of math itself, and the closely related field of applying math and logic TO other branches of philosophy, has enough active journalized information in the mid 2014+ years to fill 50 volumes. Since thousands have been written in mainline philosophy, and even the philosophy of science as well as logic, this is not without surprise and mystery.

The good news is that an invested, energetic reader can pick up this handful of keys and be in the top percent of folks on the planet with a good foundation! This is hardly true of any other field. I'd start with Shapiro's Oxford Encylopedia, study Benacerraf and Putnam's classic collection of essays, then finish with Shapiro's deep and difficult "Thinking about" and of course Russell and Frege for historic and specialized puzzle pieces.
One "sleeper" I'd like to recommend that is not usually included in comparisons of books in this field is Steinhart: More Precisely: The Math You Need to Do Philosophy.

Eric helps with both math within philosophy (the basics) and tangentially helps with the math used as examples within the philosophy OF math. Beyond the issues of categorization, discovery, math as model vs. underpinning reality ala the Matrix, there of course is the whole field of logic, induction, deduction, etc. which has thousands of volumes. The six mentioned here cover logic, but are much more specific in the broader subject area of mathematics, which now includes dynamical systems and differential equations undreamt of in the past, and bringing many new mental tools to bear, from intuition to analytic, qualitative, numeric, perturbative and of course stochastic. Here are the other links to those mentioned in this survey:

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic (Oxford Handbooks)

Thinking about Mathematics: The Philosophy of Mathematics

Philosophy of Mathematics: Selected Readings

The Foundations of Arithmetic: A Logico-Mathematical Enquiry into the Concept of Number

Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most rewarding read 5 Oct. 2012
By Lisa P. Maguire - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The pro comments (that the book is definitive) as well as the con (that one needs some background in logic, math, phil to understand it) are both correct. I have a bare bones undergraduate grasp of philosophical issues & my math is inadequate, therefore I found numerous passages just in the introduction that challenged my patience, intelligence (such as it is) & will to absorb. My conclusion, however, is that the reward-to-work ratio is greater in this text than any other book I know of in contemporary philosophy. The results of the labor required has been an added measure of humility and enlightenment. In fact, I wish I could trade years I devoted to Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, Foucault, Ayer, Rorty and even Wittgenstein (as pleasurable as all that was at the time) to get to this work earlier.
No sterile polemics, Benacerraf & Putnam simply highlight the questions, the positions, the conundrums, & the costs of holding the various positions in these compelling debates around mathematical truth & understanding.
This book is my vote for heavyweight champ in 20th century philosophy.
13 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good compilation if you have the background 24 Jan. 2008
By Isaac Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Don't try reading this book if you have little background with analytic philosophy, logic, and math. Although you're unlikely to be interested in it if you don't have that background. Some great works about the nature of mathematics are included here but make sure you have the background or it won't make sense.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars $971. 04??!??? Gimme ... 1 Jun. 2015
By V - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
$971.04??!??? Gimme a break!
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