This book argues against the view that mathematical knowledge is a priori, contending that mathematics is an empirical science and develops historically, just as natural sciences do. Kitcher presents a complete, systematic, and richly detailed account of the nature of mathematical knowledge and its historical development, focusing on such neglected issues as how and why mathematical language changes, why certain questions assume overriding importance, and how standards of proof are modified.
"Outstanding--clear, readable, and convincing."--Patricia Churchland, University of California, San Diego
"Does an excellent job of tracing the evolution of mathematical rigor. It is a must for the entire academic community."--R.L. Pour, Emory and Henry College
"A valuable and important book...It is a pleasure to see Philip Kitcher making such an original contribution to the philosophy of mathematics, and to general philosophy also. All told, it marks him as having one of the freshest minds at work in Anglo-American philosophy today."--Nature
"A truly fascinating account."--Library Journal
"An impressive display of erudition and philosophical acuity....Should play a significant role in both the philosophy and historiography of mathematics."--British Journal for the Philosophy of Science