Mathematical Method and Proof

Synthese 153 (1):105-159 (2006)

Jeremy Avigad
Carnegie Mellon University
On a traditional view, the primary role of a mathematical proof is to warrant the truth of the resulting theorem. This view fails to explain why it is very often the case that a new proof of a theorem is deemed important. Three case studies from elementary arithmetic show, informally, that there are many criteria by which ordinary proofs are valued. I argue that at least some of these criteria depend on the methods of inference the proofs employ, and that standard models of formal deduction are not well-equipped to support such evaluations. I discuss a model of proof that is used in the automated deduction community, and show that this model does better in that respect.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
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Reprint years 2006
DOI 10.1007/s11229-005-4064-5
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References found in this work BETA

Towards a Philosophy of Real Mathematics.David Corfield - 2005 - Cambridge University Press.
Towards a Philosophy of Real Mathematics.David Corfield - 2005 - Studia Logica 81 (2):285-289.
Mathematical Explanation.Mark Steiner - 1978 - Philosophical Studies 34 (2):135 - 151.

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Citations of this work BETA

Mathematical Inference and Logical Inference.Yacin Hamami - 2018 - Review of Symbolic Logic 11 (4):665-704.
Understanding, Formal Verification, and the Philosophy of Mathematics.Jeremy Avigad - 2010 - Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research 27:161-197.
What is a Proof?Reinhard Kahle - 2015 - Axiomathes 25 (1):79-91.

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