The philosophy of mathematics is the branch of philosophy that studies the philosophical assumptions, foundations, and implications of mathematics. The aim of the philosophy of mathematics is to provide an account of the nature and methodology of mathematics and to understand the place of mathematics in people's lives. The logical and structural nature of mathematics itself makes this study both broad and unique among its philosophical counterparts.
The terms philosophy of mathematics and mathematical philosophy are frequently used as synonyms. The latter, however, may be used to refer to several other areas of study. One refers to a project of formalising a philosophical subject matter, say, aesthetics, ethics, logic, metaphysics, or theology, in a purportedly more exact and rigorous form, as for example the labours of Scholastic theologians, or the systematic aims of Leibniz and Spinoza. Another refers to the working philosophy of an individual practitioner or a like-minded community of practicing mathematicians. Additionally, some understand the term "mathematical philosophy" to be an allusion to the approach taken by Bertrand Russell in his books The Principles of Mathematics and Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy.
Famous quotes containing the words philosophy of, philosophy and/or mathematics:
“Only a philosophy of eternity, in the world today, could justify non-violence.”
—Albert Camus (19131960)
“Irish? In truth I would not want to be anything else. It is a state of mind as well as an actual country. It is being at odds with other nationalities, having quite different philosophy about pleasure, about punishment, about life, and about death. At least it does not leave one pusillanimous.”
—Edna OBrien (b. c. 1932)
“The three main medieval points of view regarding universals are designated by historians as realism, conceptualism, and nominalism. Essentially these same three doctrines reappear in twentieth-century surveys of the philosophy of mathematics under the new names logicism, intuitionism, and formalism.”
—Willard Van Orman Quine (b. 1908)