me and my dog

Audrey Yap

Department of Philosophy
University of Victoria
P.O. Box 3045
Victoria, BC V8W 3P4
Email: ayap(at)uvic(dot)ca

I am currently an associate professor in the Philosophy department at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia. My PhD work was done at Stanford University, where I wrote a dissertation entitled Mathematical Practice and the Philosophy of Mathematics under the supervision of my co-advisors Michael Friedman and Sol Feferman. My primary research areas are the history and philosophy of mathematics and logic, as well as feminist epistemology.

I am currently on the ASL Committee for Logic Education and am a board member of the Philosophy of Mathematics Association.

Selected Publications

Selected Talks


Title: Mathematical Practice and the Philosophy of Mathematics
Abstract: Most views in the philosophy of mathematics can be seen as addressing the following questions: what are mathematical objects, and how do we have knowledge of them? However, any account we give of how we have knowledge of mathematical objects has to take into account what sorts of things we claim they are; conversely, any account we give of the nature of those objects must be accompanied by a corresponding account of how it is that we acquire knowledge of them. In this dissertation, I argue that attentiveness to mathematical practice suggests a more fruitful approach to tackling these issues than the route typically taken.

The history and practice of modern algebra yields an interesting notion of abstract object, which is metaphysically "thin". A good illustration of this is found in Dedekind's work on the theory of ideals, and the way in which this work connects to his more general structuralist views in the philosophy of mathematics. What this Dedekindian view gives us is an alternative approach to explaining epistemic access to the objects of algebra, which takes into account the methods of algebra. For such objects, the explanation of how it is that we have knowledge about them is simply given by the fact that all there is to them are the structural properties by which they are defined in the first place.