Keith Devlin - The Philosophy of Real Mathematics

Video by: Mirjam Paales 05.12.2011 18818 views Computer Science Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics

Prof Keith Devlin, Director of the Human-Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute at Stanford University will give a public lecture entitled:



on Monday, December 5, 14:15-15:45, Liivi 2-111, Tartu.

 Prof Keith Devlin from Stanford University is one of the most active scientist in the world popularizing math. His current research is focused on the use of different media to teach and communicate mathematics to diverse audiences e.g. teaching math for children by using video games and therefore doing it in a creative and natural process. He also works on the design of information/reasoning systems for intelligence analysis. Keith Devlin has been recognized by many prizes for his work and he is an author of numerous writings and textbooks.  Even in 2011 he published 3 books.

 Keith Devlin is the founder and director of  the Human-Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute (H-STAR) at Stanford University ( H-STAR is an interdisciplinary research center focusing on people and technology – how people use technology and how it affects them, how to develop and design the technology in order to make it more useable (and competetive on the market), it looks on the innovative use of technologies in research, education, art, business, entertainment, communication and other walks of life.


If mathematics is regarded as a science, then the philosophy of mathematics can be regarded as a branch of the philosophy of science, next to disciplines such as the philosophy of physics and the philosophy of biology. However, because of its subject matter, the philosophy of mathematics occupies a special place in the philosophy of science. Whereas the natural sciences investigate entities that are located in space and time, it is not at all obvious that this is also the case with respect to the objects that are studied in mathematics. In addition to that, the methods of investigations of mathematics differ markedly from the methods of investigation in the natural sciences. Whereas the latter acquire general knowledge using inductive methods, mathematical knowledge appears to be acquired in a different way, namely, by deduction from basic principles. The status of mathematical knowledge also appears to differ from the status of knowledge in the natural sciences. The theories of the natural sciences appear to be less certain and more open to revision than mathematical theories. For the reasons mathematics poses problems of a quite distinctive kind for philosophy. Therefore philosophers have accorded special attention to ontological and epistemological questions concerning mathematics. 

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