Graduate & Undergraduate Student Seminar (GAUSS)
Abstract: This talk is intended as an introduction to the philosophy of mathematics. We will begin by briefly describing what exactly are the aims of philosophy of mathematics, and why one might wish to ponder such things in the first place. From here, a discussion about what it means to be “objective” will follow, and we will then use the question of whether or not mathematics is objective as a jumping-off point to explore several of the major trains of thought in the philosophy of mathematics: Platonism, nominalism, formalism, and intuitionism. While by no means comprehensive, this list should give the listener an idea (and hopefully an appreciation) for the widely varying approaches one might take in situating mathematics within the general human intellectual enterprise. This talk should be approachable to a variety of backgrounds, and assumes little knowledge of either mathematics or philosophy. At bare minimum, all that is required is an open mind and an interest in the subject matter.