MATH336-12S2 (C) Semester Two 2012

Foundations of Mathematics

15 points, 0.1250 EFTS
09 Jul 2012 - 11 Nov 2012


An introduction to the philosophy of mathematics, classical and intuitionistic logic, set theory, and Gödel's theorems.

What is mathematics? What is the connection between truth and provability? What are the limitations of mathematics? Is every mathematical truth provable, at least in principle? "Foundations of mathematics" is the name given to the examination of such questions using mathematical methods wherever applicable. The technical mathematical background required for this course is fairly minimal (for example, it does not require a background course on analysis), so the course should be accessible to some philosophers and computer scientists; nevertheless, a measure of mathematical/intellectual maturity is an advised prerequisite.

Part 1: Classical propositional and predicate logic; valuations, proof trees, and derivations; soundness and completeness; the compactness theorem and its applications

Part 2: Axiomatic Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory; ordinals; the axiom of choice and the continuum hypothesis; independence of axioms.

Part 3: Gödel's incompleteness theorems.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the students will have an appreciation of some of the major breakthroughs in mathematical logic in the first 70 years of the twentieth century, and they will be able to carry out technical work in formal logic and set theory.

In particular they should:

  • understand the fundamentals of proof and model theory, for classical propositional and predicate logic, up to the Gödel-Henkin completeness theorem, the compactness theorem, and the upward Löwenheim-Skolem theorem
  • understand, and use, the axioms of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory, in particular in the development of the theory of ordinals
  • understand the proof and the significance of Gödel's incompleteness theorems


30 points in MATH or EMTH at 200 level, as approved by the Head of School.


MATH 208, MATH 308

Streams Day Time Where Notes
Stream 01 Tuesday , Thursday 8:00am-9:00am Erskine 445 9 Jul - 19 Aug,
3 Sep - 14 Oct
Wednesday 1:00pm-2:00pm Erskine 445 9 Jul - 19 Aug,
3 Sep - 14 Oct

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Douglas Bridges


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Take Home Test 1 30%
Take Home Test 2 30%
Take Home Test 3 40%


There is no textbook for the course. The lecture notes will be available for download
from Learn and from the MATH336 pages on the Department of Mathematics & Statistics website.

Course links

MATH336 Homepage

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $622.00

International fee $3,200.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 5 people apply to enrol.

For further information see Mathematics and Statistics.

All MATH336 Occurrences

  • MATH336-12S2 (C) Semester Two 2012