Lakatos' philosophy of mathematics: a historical approach

New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Distributors for the U.S. and Canada, Elsevier Science Pub. Co. (1991)
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Abstract

In this book, which is both a philosophical and historiographical study, the author investigates the fallibility and the rationality of mathematics by means of rational reconstructions of developments in mathematics. The initial chapters are devoted to a critical discussion of Lakatos' philosophy of mathematics. In the remaining chapters several episodes in the history of mathematics are discussed, such as the appearance of deduction in Greek mathematics and the transition from Eighteenth-Century to Nineteenth-Century analysis. The author aims at developing a notion of mathematical rationality that agrees with the historical facts. A modified version of Lakatos' methodology is proposed. The resulting constructions show that mathematical knowledge is fallible, but that its fallibility is remarkably weak.

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Teunis Koetsier
VU University Amsterdam

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