University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Midlands Logic Seminar > A very short introduction to structuralism

A very short introduction to structuralism

Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Richard.

Timothy Gowers’ beautiful book “Mathematics and very short introduction” should be accessible to everyone with an interest in mathematics. It contains the slogan “a mathematical object is what it does” (page 19, Gowers’ italics). This (together with the idea that structures and rules for numbers are nothing more than mathematical models – the subject of Gowers’ Chapter 1 – applied to our intuitive idea of number) gives a very beautiful and straightforward way into the idea of Structuralism.

I will explain this idea and develop it in the direction of the Philosophy of Mathematics, at least to the point of understanding why such a structuralist account might be a good thing, and to mention very briefly some of the possible flavours of structuralism on might adopt.

I have been teaching this at the first year WHM level this term to non-mathematicians and this study group will go slightly beyond first year level but should be completely accessible to interested students, both mathematics students and others.

The “slides” from the talk (actually a number of pages of handwritten notes) are available at They probably won’t mean so much until after (or during) this talk.

This talk is part of the Midlands Logic Seminar series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.


Talks@bham, University of Birmingham. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity.
talks@bham is based on from the University of Cambridge.