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Supercurricular Reading for Maths/Philosophy

I'm planning to apply to Maths and Philosophy at Oxford later this year and would appreciate some ideas for books that would be helpful as backdrop on the subject/to put on my personal statement (I have dropped my fourth subject to focus on this). I am particularly interested in set theory and logic, and haven't read much philosophy yet.
Original post by alex durbin
I'm planning to apply to Maths and Philosophy at Oxford later this year and would appreciate some ideas for books that would be helpful as backdrop on the subject/to put on my personal statement (I have dropped my fourth subject to focus on this). I am particularly interested in set theory and logic, and haven't read much philosophy yet.

Logic and Language Wilfrid Hodges, Logic, Second edition (Penguin, 2001). Sections 1-8 and 12-19 P.D. Magnus and Tim Button, forallx:Cambridge (http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytbu/OERs.html) This is the logic textbook used in the first year of the Philosophy Tripos.

Michael Morris, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language, (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Graham Priest, Logic: A very short introduction, Second Edition (Oxford University Press, 2017)

R M Sainsbury, Paradoxes. Third edition (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

https://www.phil.cam.ac.uk/system/files/suggested_preliminary_readings_updated_july_2023.pdf
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 2
hii, I got an offer for maths and philosophy for 2024 entry! I know this is basic but I'd definitely recommend Think by Simon Blackburn, it's a great introduction to a lot of philosophy- I've never read it cover-to-cover but I've just read chapters that I found interesting, such as the mind-body chapter. Betrand Russell also has a book on an introduction to mathematical philosophy, if that's your thing. I only wrote about one book for my personal statement (and they did ask me about it, so make sure to only put books you've actually read!), I mainly wrote about various essay competitions I'd done and also an EPQ I completed on Philosophy, God and Science. With regards to non-book supercurriculars I'd definitely recommend the Panpsycast philosophy podcast, they started off covering more philosophy of religion but now I think they do just about everything. I'd also recommend looking into essay competitions- NULondon did one about consequentialism last year, and Cambridge did one about meta-philosophy, which was something I had never really considered before I saw the question, so that particular essay was really fun for me.
Original post by hinotih
hii, I got an offer for maths and philosophy for 2024 entry! I know this is basic but I'd definitely recommend Think by Simon Blackburn, it's a great introduction to a lot of philosophy- I've never read it cover-to-cover but I've just read chapters that I found interesting, such as the mind-body chapter. Betrand Russell also has a book on an introduction to mathematical philosophy, if that's your thing. I only wrote about one book for my personal statement (and they did ask me about it, so make sure to only put books you've actually read!), I mainly wrote about various essay competitions I'd done and also an EPQ I completed on Philosophy, God and Science. With regards to non-book supercurriculars I'd definitely recommend the Panpsycast philosophy podcast, they started off covering more philosophy of religion but now I think they do just about everything. I'd also recommend looking into essay competitions- NULondon did one about consequentialism last year, and Cambridge did one about meta-philosophy, which was something I had never really considered before I saw the question, so that particular essay was really fun for me.
Hi this is super helpful - thank you! I was just wondering if you could give me an idea of how good you have to be at maths to get into maths and philosophy Oxbridge. I’m good at essay writing and reading so I think I’ll be alright at the philosophy side of things. I’m more worried about maths. Whilst I do alright on maths and further maths a level papers, I tend to score averagely on UKMT papers and things like that. Do you think if I worked hard during the summer, I’d be able to do maths and philosophy? Or would I be better suited to PPE?
Reply 4
Original post by AGumbrellas
Hi this is super helpful - thank you! I was just wondering if you could give me an idea of how good you have to be at maths to get into maths and philosophy Oxbridge. I’m good at essay writing and reading so I think I’ll be alright at the philosophy side of things. I’m more worried about maths. Whilst I do alright on maths and further maths a level papers, I tend to score averagely on UKMT papers and things like that. Do you think if I worked hard during the summer, I’d be able to do maths and philosophy? Or would I be better suited to PPE?

I'm not the best person to ask about this, I'm definitely one of the best at maths in my small sixth form but by no means am i "very good", I've never done UKMT in my life, I'm only on the verge of an A* in further maths, and I got a 47 on the MAT ... This was with technical disruptions and atrocious exam conditions but even without I don't think I would've gotten above 60. Maybe I'm an anomaly, but by no means do you have to be a maths genius to study maths at Oxford. Just as long as you're at least somewhat competent, and you enjoy the subject!
first year logic at oxford is mostly based off Volker Halbach's the logic manual, it's not too hard so you can consider going through it
if you haven't read much philosophy I might recommend including at least a bit of metaphysics or epistemology in your personal statement, as this is what they teach in first year general philosophy
other than the introductory readings other people have posted about, I might recommend the stanford encyclopedia of philosophy if you're digging deeper into a particular topic you're interested in. it should be easier to understand compared to most primary readings

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