The nineteenth century saw a movement to make higher mathematics rigorous. This seemed to be on the brink of success when it was thrown into confusion by the discovery of the class paradoxes. That initiated a period of intense research into the Foundations of mathematics, and with it the birth of mathematical logic and a new, sharper debate in the philosophy of mathematics.
The Search for Certainty examines this Foundational endeavour From the discovery of the paradoxes to the present. Focusing on Russell's logicist programme and Hilbert's finitist programme. Giaquinto investigates how successful they were and how successful they could be. These questions are set in the context of a clear, non-technical exposition and assessment of the most important discoveries in mathematical logic, above all Gödel's underivability theorems.
More than six decades after those discoveries, Giaquinto asks what our present perspective should be on the question of certainty in mathematics. Taking recent developments into account, he gives reasons for a surprisingly positive response.