Spring 2019 - PHIL 345W D100

Philosophy of Mathematics (3)

Class Number: 5803

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 4:30 PM – 6:20 PM
    WMC 2507, Burnaby

    Th 4:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    AQ 5007, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 14, 2019
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    AQ 3149, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    One of PHIL 110, 210, 314, 315 or MACM 101; and one of PHIL 100W, 201 or 203.



Examines central philosophical issues related to mathematics. Topics may include the metaphysical status of mathematical entities, mathematical knowledge, set theory and others. Writing.


[Note: this course is to be taught concurrently with PHIL 814.]

We will study the great foundational questions in mathematics, including:

  • Are our mathematical theories compatible with physicalism?
  • Do we really know that our mathematical theories are logically consistent?
  • Are mathematical truths a priori?
  • Are there mathematical truths that are unknowable in principle?
  • Does classical logic require reform?

We will read works by great philosophers including Bertrand Russell, and great mathematicians including David Hilbert and Kurt Gödel.


This course may be applied towards the Writing Requirement (and the upper division Writing Requirement for Philosophy majors).

  • Students will learn to think philosophically about the foundational questions in mathematics.
  • Students will practice reading difficult philosophical texts.
  • Students will practice writing clearly about complex and subtle topics.
  • Students will think about the history of mathematics, focusing on the ways in which mathematical practice has changed over time.


  • Six short writing assignments 60%
  • Final Exam 40%



Readings will be posted on Canvas as necessary. 

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at philmgr@sfu.ca   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html