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Who are some philosophers that are generally placed in the continental tradition but who have done some work in the philosophy of mathematics.

I know that Husserl has some great work in philosophy of math (but he isn't really firmly in the continental camp, though later phenomenologists certainly would be classified that way).

Are there any philosophers besides Husserl? Is there active research into the nature of mathematics in the "continental" side of the discipline?

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I would think of Albert Lautman first and foremost as probably the most important figure to my mind, who influenced both Badiou's and Deleuze's investigations into various aspects of the philosophy of mathematics. – Joseph Weissman Jan 26 '13 at 22:25
@JosephWeissman I read a bit of Lautman's Essai sur les notions de structure et d’existence en mathématiques: Les schémas de structure and was fairly impressed. Could you point me towards what might be considered his canonical writings on the subject? He seems like a figure of considerable interest to me. – Dennis Jan 27 '13 at 3:15
the text I might suggest would be Mathematics, Ideas and the Physical Real -- it's a collection in English of his work published by continuum. – Joseph Weissman Jan 27 '13 at 3:33
@JosephWeissman Thanks! Interestingly enough, the website I found the Lautman at has a comment from you: here. – Dennis Jan 27 '13 at 3:35
That's my working group's blog :) – Joseph Weissman Jan 27 '13 at 3:36
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Alain Badiou, arguably. In his Being and Event Badiou relies heavily on Zermelo-Fraenkel axioms of set theory in order to show that "mathematics is ontology". As such, then, it is a brave attempt to build a bridge between continental and analytic philosophy. However, Badiou's grasp of mathematics in general and set theory in particular is often questioned.

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In Logics of Worlds he also gets into category theory. It strikes me that it might be interesting here to note that Zizek talks about the mathematics of QM pretty intensely in Less than Zero. Just in passing -- both Zizek and Badiou are careful readers of Lacan, who presented various mathematical 'formulae' for various modes of subjectivity, desire, discourse, etc. – Joseph Weissman Jan 26 '13 at 23:27
@JosephWeissman by Less than Zero, do you mean Zizek's new book Less than Nothing? How is his treatment of QM? As someone who works in that field, I would be very interested in a how a continental figure grapples with the topic. Is there a good summary, since I don't want to read the whole thousand-odd pages. – Artem Kaznatcheev Jan 28 '13 at 9:24
@Artem yes, of course: Less than Nothing! I am not sure it would be reasonable to try to reproduce the argument here [and I'm not remotely qualified to comment seriously on it,] but you might pose a question on the mainpage asking after a précis of the relevant remarks. I will let you know if I can find a good summary somewhere. – Joseph Weissman Jan 28 '13 at 16:00

Take a look at Oscar Becker's works. His "Mathematische Existenz" is a Heideggerian approach to the ontology of mathematics. Unfortunately I can't say much about him, since I've read nothing of his works.

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Albert Lautman, Jules Vuillemin, Jean Cavailles, Fernando Zalamea, Alain Badiou, Arkady Plotnitsky, Sha Xin Wei, and Jean-Toussaint Desanti

Edit: A few more: Brian Rotman, Quentin Meillassoux (some in After Finitude), Jacques Lacan, Francois Laruelle, Ray Brassier (some in Nihil Unbound), Gilles Deleuze (esp. Difference and Repetition), Brian Massumi (some in User's Guide), Manuel Delanda (Intensive Science & Virtual Philosophy), Alexander Galloway, Michel Serres

I would also say that, instead of what is usually considered 'philosophy of mathematics', most of these guys use mathematics to do philosophy.

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A better answer would provide some suggestions for reading as well as maybe a sentence or two explaining what these authors (generally) work on. – Dennis Mar 5 '14 at 13:03
In that case, google is your friend – Petr Misan Mar 5 '14 at 14:29
I agree that Google is useful, I was merely pointing out that usually it is preferred to provide relatively self-standing answers to questions on SE. I thank you for the names either way, it is helpful to me. – Dennis Mar 5 '14 at 18:06

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