From Math to Philosophy

Every once in a while, I get asked by students with a background in math (usually with an interest in logic) what they should do if they want to get into grad school in philosophy. I know there’s quite a number of accomplished philosophers who started out as math majors and then went on to top PhD programs in philosophy–but I don’t know what they did to get in. It may well be that you can take one upper-level logic course at MIT and get a letter from one of the philosophy profs there that’ll get you into a top philosophy PhD program. But if you’re not a math major at a top US school, how much philosophy should you have taken, and what kinds of courses, to stand a chance? How many letters from philosophy profs would it take? How technical can your writing sample be? And what if you’re in some other discipline (CS, physics, psych, etc) and you want to switch to a philosophy graduate program?

arXiv math.LO RSS feed and trackbacks

As reported on CT and Cosmic Variance, the preprint archive arXiv has now track-back enabled their entries. This means that if you discuss a paper available on arXiv in your blog and send a trackback ping, the arXiv page of the paper will link back to you post. arXiv is hugely popular in physics, but it is of course also a mathematics and CS preprint archive, and arXiv math.LO (Logic) and math.HO (History and Overview), among others, will be of interest to readers of this blog. So for example, if you’re interested in the question about conservativity of ideal over real mathematics in Hilbert’s writings, as it came up on FOM the other day, you might have a look at the last section of this paper. And if this trackback thing works, the arXiv page of that paper will link back to this post. Too bad the Front for the Math arXiv doesn’t do the trackbacks yet–it’s easier to browse the archives over there. RSS feeds of new entries to the arXiv have been available for a while; e.g., you can subscribe to

Dropping the Ball

Sorry for dropping the ball on the LC’05 conference reporting. Day 5 was when I had my talk, so it was a little hectic, and then after my talk they had already turned off the wireless ethernet and locked the computer lab. Now, of course, I don’t remember what happened. Oh well.