David Corfield

David Neil Corfield is a British philosopher specializing in mathematics and psychology. He is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Kent.

David Corfield
David Neil Corfield
EducationUniversity of Cambridge (BA)
King's College London (MSc, PhD)
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
ThesisResearch Programmes, Logic, and Analogy: Three Aspects of Mathematics and Its Development (1996)
Doctoral advisorDonald A. Gillies
Main interests
Philosophy of mathematics
Philosophy of psychology
Notable ideas
Philosophy of real mathematics (as opposed to metamathematics)
Homotopy type theory as an inherently structuralist foundational language for mathematics
The reality of the interconnection between the psychological and biological aspects of the person


Corfield studied mathematics at the University of Cambridge, and later earned his MSc and PhD in the philosophy of science and mathematics at King's College London.[1][2] His doctoral advisor was Donald A. Gillies.[3]


Corfield is the author of Towards a Philosophy of Real Mathematics (2003), in which he argues that the philosophical implications of mathematics did not stop with Kurt Gödel's incompleteness theorems. He has also co-authored a book with Darian Leader about psychosomatic medicine, Why Do People Get Ill? (2007).

He joined the University of Kent in September 2007 in which he is currently a Senior Lecturer.

He is a member of the informal steering committee of nLab, a wiki-lab for collaborative work on mathematics, physics, and philosophy.

Papers and reviews

  • "Assaying Lakatos's Philosophy of Mathematics", Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 28(1), 99–121 (1997).
  • "Beyond the Methodology of Mathematical Research Programmes", Philosophia Mathematica 6, 272–301 (1998).
  • "Come the Revolution...", critical notice on The Principles of Mathematics Revisited by Jaakko Hintikka, Philosophical Books 39(3), 150–6 (1998).
  • "The Importance of Mathematical Conceptualisation", Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 32(3), 507–533 (2001).
  • "Bayesianism in Mathematics", in Corfield D. and Williamson J. (eds.) (2001), 175–201.
  • (with J. Williamson), "Bayesianism into the 21st Century", in Corfield D. and Williamson J. (eds.) (2001), 1–16.
  • Corfield D. and Williamson J. (eds.), Foundations of Bayesianism, Kluwer Applied Logic Series (2001).
  • "Argumentation and the Mathematical Process", G. Kampis, L. Kvasz & M. Stöltzner (eds.) Appraising Lakatos: Mathematics, Methodology, and the Man, 115–138. Kluwer, Dordrecht (2002).
  • Review of Conceptual Mathematics by F. W. Lawvere and S. Schanuel and A Primer of Infinitesimal Analysis by J. Bell, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 33B(2), 359–366 (2002).
  • "From Mathematics to Psychology: Lacan's Missed Encounters" in J. Glynos and Y. Stavrakakis (eds.) Lacan and Science, Karnac Books, 179–206 (2002).
  • Towards a Philosophy of Real Mathematics, Cambridge University Press (2003).
  • Review of Opening Skinner's Box by Lauren Slater, The Guardian, 27 March 2004.
  • Review of Krieger, M. (2005). "Doing Mathematics". Philosophia Mathematica. 13: 106–111.
  • "Categorification as a Heuristic Device", in D. Gillies and C. Cellucci (eds.) Mathematical Reasoning and Heuristics, King's College Publications (2005).
  • Why Do People Get Ill?, Hamish Hamilton (2007).
  • "Understanding the Infinite II: Coalgebra". Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. 42: 571–579. 2011. doi:10.1016/j.shpsa.2011.09.013.

See also


  1. Apostolos Doxiadis, Barry Mazur, Circles Disturbed: The Interplay of Mathematics and Narrative, Princeton University Press, 2012, p. 541.
  2. Bios - Thales + Friends
  3. Corfield interviewed by McLarty - Thales + Friends
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