Computers in mathematical inquiry

In Section 2, I survey some of the ways that computers are used in mathematics. These raise questions that seem to have a generally epistemological character, although they do not fall squarely under a traditional philosophical purview. The goal of this article is to try to articulate some of these questions more clearly, and assess the philosophical methods that may be brought to bear. In Section 3, I note that most of the issues can be classified under two headings: some deal with the ability of computers to deliver appropriate “evidence” for mathematical assertions, a notion that is explored in Section 4, while others deal with the ability of computers to deliver appropriate mathematical “understanding,” a notion that is considered in Section 5. Final thoughts are provided in Section 6.
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