The field of mathematics may be approached from either of two opposite directions. The more familiar direction is constructive, towards gradually increasing complexity. The other direction is less familiar, and it proceeds through analysis to greater abstractness and logical simplicity. In the latter case, we ask what more general ideas and principles can be found in terms of which our starting point can be defined and deduced. The pursuit of this opposite direction characterizes mathematical philosophy rather than ordinary mathematics.
Bertrand Russell is the most important philosopher of mathematics of the twentieth century. The author of The Principles of Mathematics, and, with Alfred Whitehead, the massive Principia Mathematica, Russell brought together his formidable knowledge of the subject and his skills as a gifted communicator to provide a classic introduction to the philosophy of mathematics.
Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy sets out in a lucid and non-technical way the main ideas of Principia Mathematica. It is as inspiring and useful to the beginner as it was when it was first published in 1919. This paperback edition of Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy includes an introduction by John G. Slater of the University of Toronto.