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Unit information: Philosophy and History of Mathematics in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Philosophy and History of Mathematics
Unit code PHILM0016
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Catrin Campbell-Moore
Open unit status Not open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)


Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)


Units you may not take alongside this one
School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Unit Information

The unit will discuss some of the main programmes in recent and contemporary philosophy of mathematics. Topics might include, for instance: Gottlob Frege's logicist project and the neo-logicist programme of Bob Hale and Crispin Wright; the structuralist programme of Michael Resnik and Stewart Shapiro; the fictionalist programme of Stephen Yablo; David Hilbert's finitist project.


The aim of this seminar is to bring students to a level where they can understand and critically interact with recent research in philosophy and history of mathematics. After taking this seminar, they should be ready to carry out research that makes a contribution to the state of knowledge in the field.

Your learning on this unit

On successful completion of this unit, students should:

  1. Have knowledge and understanding of core issues in the philosophy of mathematics including issues to do with the ontology and epistemology of mathematics. Have knowledge and understanding of the skills and methodology required to do work in these areas.
  2. Be able to give clear and concise presentations, both orally and in written form, of complex and technical material. Be able to make effective use of Information Technology. Be able to conduct independent research into a new topic, using online and library resources. Be able to analyze and understand difficult texts and critically assess them. And be able to write clear academic prose.

How you will learn

Lectures, small group work, individual exercises, seminars and virtual learning environment.

How you will be assessed

Summative Assessment: One essay of up to 6,000 words (excluding bibliography) - 100%


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHILM0016).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.