B. Madison Mount received a BA in English from Duke University, a DEA in philosophy from the Université de Paris-IV, and is currently completing his PhD in comparative literature from Princeton University. His dissertation, ‘Figuring Modality’, discusses the role of the modal categories in F.W.J. Schelling’s early metaphysics and aesthetics. In 2008-9 he was a lecturer in the Philosophy Department at Princeton.

His research in philosophy centres on metaphysics, philosophical and mathematical logic, the philosophy of mathematics, seventeenth-century philosophy, Plato, aesthetics, and phenomenology. In addition, he is interested in modernist and avant-garde literature and film from the 1880s to the 1970s, Classical literature and its contemporary reinterpretations, and the history and theory of law and jurisprudence in a comparative context.

Language, Perspective, Formalism:
The Philosophy of Mathematics in an
Interdisciplinary Context

ICI Project 2010-12

The research project examines the structure of discourse about mathematical objects and its relation to other forms of language. The first (historical) part of the project discusses the development of metamathematics from the 1890s to the 1930s, looking at Hilbert’s formalist programme, the finitism of the middle Wittgenstein, and the early reception of the classical limitative theorems (Gödel, Church, Löwenheim-Skolem); focusing particularly on the evolution of the notion of formalized languages as multiply interpretable structures.

The second (philosophical) part applies these results to recent discussions of intensionality in mathematics and the individuation of mathematical objects. The third (interdisciplinary) part assesses the relevance of these insights about mathematical language for other ‘exceptional cases’ in the philosophy of language: poetic language, metaphor, and fictional entities.