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Philosophy of Mathematics: Selected Readings 2nd Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521296489
ISBN-10: 052129648X
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  • Philosophy of Mathematics: Selected Readings
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Includes several classic essays from the first edition, a representative selection of the most influential work of the past twenty years, a substantial introduction, and an extended bibliography. Originally published by Prentice-Hall in 1964. -- Book Description

Book Description

Includes several classic essays from the first edition, a representative selection of the most influential work of the past twenty years, a substantial introduction, and an extended bibliography. Originally published by Prentice-Hall in 1964.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 612 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (January 27, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052129648X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521296489
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Flash Sheridan on March 10, 2011
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.
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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.
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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.
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