Professor Pen Maddy Penelope Maddy
Distinguished Professor

Ph.D., Princeton University
philosophy of mathematics and logic, meta-philosophy, skepticism, various historical figures in modern and analytic philosophy.

SST 759 | 949-824-4133

Professional Bio

My work began from methodological questions in the foundations of set theory, especially how new axioms can be properly criticized or defended.  (Click here for videos of our workshop on ‘Mathematical Depth, a notion central in Defending the Axioms.)  This focused inquiry has led to more general questions in the metaphysics and epistemology of mathematics and logic, and the relations of these subjects to natural science.  Progress on all this seemed to me to require some attention to the methodology of philosophy itself; I’ve been especially interested in varieties of naturalism, including one I call ‘second philosophy’, but also logical positivism, ordinary language philosophy and its descendants, various ‘therapeutic’ approaches, conceptual analysis, etc. — and in radical skepticism as a diagnostic tool for comparing and contrasting these schools of meta-philosophical thought.  This is coupled with historical interest in such figures as Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, Kant, Frege, Wittgenstein, Moore, Austin, Carnap and Quine.  (For a recent overview, click here.)

These interests are reflected in upcoming and recent seminars:

For 2017-2017 — Philosophy of Set Theory