• Jay
    4
    On other online philosophy forums, this question got mixed responses. Some said that you could not get far in philosophy without a good background in mathematics, given the analytic bent of contemporary philosophy. Others said that unless you venture into some areas of philosophy like philosophy of language, mathematics would not be that important. The remaining few adopted a more extreme position that philosophy could do without math.

    I was wondering what Philosophy professors or people with and advanced degree in Philosophy think about this issue. Could you cite any peer-reviewed articles related to this question?
  • tim wood
    4.7k
    I was wondering what Philosophy professors or people with and advanced degree in Philosophy think about this issue. Could you cite any peer-reviewed articles related to this question?Jay
    Some problems, here: why are you asking? If you're a graduate thinking about post-graduate studies and you cannot conclusively (even if tentatively) answer this question for yourself (whom else, what else, could it be for?), then you need to back away until you can. Neither math nor logic nor both, in themselves, will answer this for you. And apparently your undergraduate education including grades 0 - 16 has not adequately prepared you. Sounds harsh, and it is. But it's also reality.

    At some point, education is supposed to separate folks - the men from the boys, so to speak. The age at which this separation happens has advanced over years (in the US more than a century) from elementary through jr. and senior high school, in many cases all the way through college, and now occurs in graduate school.

    Second: the right people to ask are the folks in the department in charge of educating and mentoring you.

    Third: By the time you finish high school you ought to have pretty good basic math understandings. Admittedly formal logic is scanted, but it's not hard to pick up in a decent undergraduate class - if you apply yourself. If you've got through college without adequate training in these - unfortunately all too possible - then you will benefit from taking some additional courses.

    The idea, here is that at some point, higher education becomes serious business. In my opinion very few schools (I do not actually know of a single one) prepare students to succeed in that business (which a moment's reflection will tell you needs to be defined). That means most graduate schools are hard work. Hard here means they want to fail the less than adequately competent. No more building self-esteem; no more touchy-feely. And many students aren't ready for it.

    To be a student pursuing higher education requires attitude. What is attitude? For present purpose attitude is just that frame of mind that allows you to suppose that you can answer for yourself, and substantively, your own question. Self-doubts, self-questions, are perfectly ok. But if in your heart you know you cannot do it, then be assured they take it as their business to make sure you don't.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    You don't need a lot of mathematics or logic unless you're going into a philosophy field directly related to them. Certainly nothing more than what's required to obtain your bachelor's degree. To get your bachelor's in the U.S., you'll need a couple years or mathematics, but nothing beyond pre-calculus, and to get your philosophy bachelor's, you'll typically need a year of formal logic, but nothing too complicated.
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