, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 495-500
Date: 02 Nov 2010

Breathing fresh air into the philosophy of mathematics

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The philosophy of mathematical practice is not only a research topic, but overall a disciplinary field that is extending its importance and attracting the interest of an increasing number of scholars from different communities. The book edited by Paolo Mancosu provides a comprehensive and vivid account of the philosophy of mathematical practice, by showing it at work on different and multifarious topics, and by suggesting a substantial agenda for its development. This is also a momentous programme for the philosophy of mathematics as a whole, aiming at “bringing some fresh air” into it (1). Furthermore, Mancosu’s book gives voice to a community of scholars working in this area that does not only include the authors of the essays contained in it, but also a large group of scholars sharing their approach and often collaborating with them.

The structure of the book is tailored to these purposes. In addition to a short Preface (V–VI) and an Introduction (1–21), both by Mancosu himself, it i ...