Presents the latest research on how reasoning with analogies, metaphors, metonymies, and images can facilitate mathematical understanding. For math education, educational psychology, and cognitive science scholars.
This paper proposes an account of mathematicalreasoning as parallel in structure: the arguments which mathematicians use to persuade each other of their results comprise the argumentational structure; the inferential structure is composed of derivations which offer a formal counterpart to these arguments. Some conflicts about the foundations of mathematics correspond to disagreements over which steps should be admissible in the inferential structure. Similarly, disagreements over the admissibility of steps in the argumentational structure correspond to different views about (...)mathematical practice. The latter steps may be analysed in terms of argumentation schemes. Three broad types of scheme are distinguished, a distinction which is then used to characterize and evaluate four contrasting approaches to mathematical practice. (shrink)
1971. Discourse Grammars and the Structure of MathematicalReasoning II: The Nature of a Correct Theory of Proof and Its Value, Journal of Structural Learning 3, #2, 1–16. REPRINTED 1976. Structural Learning II Issues and Approaches, ed. J. Scandura, Gordon & Breach Science Publishers, New York, MR56#15263. -/- This is the second of a series of three articles dealing with application of linguistics and logic to the study of mathematicalreasoning, especially in the setting of a (...) concern for improvement of mathematical education. The present article presupposes the previous one. Herein we develop our ideas of the purposes of a theory of proof and the criterion of success to be applied to such theories. In addition we speculate at length concerning the specific kinds of uses to which a successful theory of proof may be put vis-a-vis improvement of various aspects of mathematical education. The final article will deal with the construction of such a theory. The 1st is the 1971. Discourse Grammars and the Structure of MathematicalReasoning I: MathematicalReasoning and Stratification of Language, Journal of Structural Learning 3, #1, 55–74. https://www.academia.edu/s/fb081b1886?source=link . (shrink)
: C.S. Peirce defines mathematics in two ways: first as "the science which draws necessary conclusions," and second as "the study of what is true of hypothetical states of things" (CP 4.227–244). Given the dual definition, Peirce notes, a question arises: Should we exclude the work of poietic hypothesis-making from the domain of pure mathematicalreasoning? (CP 4.238). This paper examines Peirce's answer to the question. Some commentators hold that for Peirce the framing of mathematical hypotheses requires (...) poietic genius but is not scientific work. I propose, to the contrary, that although Peirce occasionally seems to exclude the poietic creation of hypotheses altogether from pure mathematicalreasoning, Peirce's position is rather that the creation of mathematical hypotheses is poietic, but it is not merely poietic, and accordingly, that hypothesis-framing is part of mathematicalreasoning that involves an element of poiesis but is not merely poietic either. Scientific considerations also inhere in the process of hypothesis-making, without excluding the poietic element. In the end, I propose that hypothesis-making in mathematics stands between artistic and scientific poietic creativity with respect to imaginative freedom from logical and actual constraints upon reasoning. (shrink)
Mathematics used to be portrayed as a deductive science. Stemming from Polya, however, is a philosophical movement which broadens the concept of mathematicalreasoning to include inductive or quasi-empirical methods. Interest in inductive methods is a welcome turn from foundationalism toward a philosophy grounded in mathematical practice. Regrettably, though, the conception of mathematicalreasoning embraced by quasi-empiricists is still too narrow to include the sort of thought-experiment which Mueller describes as traditional mathematical proof and (...) which Lakatos examines in Proofs and refutations. This paper extends the concept of mathematicalreasoning along two further dimensions to accommodate thought-experiment.Keywords: Thought-experiment; Informal proof; Mathematicalreasoning. (shrink)
This paper argues that, for Bernard Nieuwentijt, mathematicalreasoning on the basis of ideas is not the same as logical reasoning on the basis of propositions. Noting that the two types of reasoning differ helps make sense of a peculiar-sounding claim Nieuwentijt makes, namely that it is possible to mathematically deduce false propositions from true abstracted ideas. I propose to interpret Nieuwentijt’s abstracted ideas as incomplete mental copies of existing objects. I argue that, according to Nieuwentijt, (...) a proposition is mathematically deducible from an abstracted idea if it can be demonstrated that that proposition makes a true claim about the object that idea forms. This allows me to explain why Nieuwentijt deems it possible to deduce false propositions from true ideas. It also implies that logic and mathematics are not as closely related for Nieuwentijt as has been suggested in the existing secondary literature. (shrink)
What is perception doing in mathematicalreasoning? To address this question, I discuss the role of perception in geometric reasoning. Perception of the shape properties of concrete diagrams provides, I argue, a surrogate consciousness of the shape properties of the abstract geometric objects depicted in the diagrams. Some of what perception is not doing in mathematicalreasoning is also discussed. I take issue with both Parsons and Maddy. Parsons claims that we perceive a certain type (...) of abstract object. Maddy claims (at least at one time claimed) that perception provides the basis for intuition of mathematical sets. 1 Mathematicalreasoning with diagrams 2 Do we perceive abstract objects? 3 Do we perceive mathematical sets? (shrink)
A Mathematical Review by John Corcoran, SUNY/Buffalo -/- Macbeth, Danielle Diagrammatic reasoning in Frege's Begriffsschrift. Synthese 186 (2012), no. 1, 289–314. ABSTRACT This review begins with two quotations from the paper: its abstract and the first paragraph of the conclusion. The point of the quotations is to make clear by the “give-them-enough-rope” strategy how murky, incompetent, and badly written the paper is. I know I am asking a lot, but I have to ask you to read the quoted (...) passages—aloud if possible. Don’t miss the silly attempt to recycle Kant’s quip “Concepts without intuitions are empty; intuitions without concepts are blind”. What the paper was aiming at includes the absurdity: “Proofs without definitions are empty; definitions without proofs are, if not blind, then dumb.” But the author even bollixed this. The editor didn’t even notice. The copy-editor missed it. And the author’s proof-reading did not catch it. In order not to torment you I will quote the sentence as it appears: “In a slogan: proofs without definitions are empty, merely the aimless manipulation of signs according to rules; and definitions without proofs are, if no blind, then dumb.”[sic] The rest of my review discusses the paper’s astounding misattribution to contemporary logicians of the information-theoretic approach. This approach was cruelly trashed by Quine in his 1970 Philosophy of Logic, and thereafter ignored by every text I know of. The paper under review attributes generally to modern philosophers and logicians views that were never espoused by any of the prominent logicians—such as Hilbert, Gödel, Tarski, Church, and Quine—apparently in an attempt to distance them from Frege: the focus of the article. On page 310 we find the following paragraph. “In our logics it is assumed that inference potential is given by truth-conditions. Hence, we think, deduction can be nothing more than a matter of making explicit information that is already contained in one’s premises. If the deduction is valid then the information contained in the conclusion must be contained already in the premises; if that information is not contained already in the premises […], then the argument cannot be valid.” Although the paper is meticulous in citing supporting literature for less questionable points, no references are given for this. In fact, the view that deduction is the making explicit of information that is only implicit in premises has not been espoused by any standard symbolic logic books. It has only recently been articulated by a small number of philosophical logicians from a younger generation, for example, in the prize-winning essay by J. Sagüillo, Methodological practice and complementary concepts of logical consequence: Tarski’s model-theoretic consequence and Corcoran’s information-theoretic consequence, History and Philosophy of Logic, 30 (2009), pp. 21–48. The paper omits definitions of key terms including ‘ampliative’, ‘explicatory’, ‘inference potential’, ‘truth-condition’, and ‘information’. The definition of prime number on page 292 is as follows: “To say that a number is prime is to say that it is not divisible without remainder by another number”. This would make one be the only prime number. The paper being reviewed had the benefit of two anonymous referees who contributed “very helpful comments on an earlier draft”. Could these anonymous referees have read the paper? -/- J. Corcoran, U of Buffalo, SUNY -/- PS By the way, if anyone has a paper that has been turned down by other journals, any journal that would publish something like this might be worth trying. (shrink)
In this contribution we propose an agent architecture for theorem proving which we intend to investigate in depth in the future. The work reported in this paper is in an early state, and by no means finished. We present and discuss our proposal in order to get feedback from the Calculemus community.
"One of Michael Blay's many fine achievements in Reasoning with the Infinite is to make us realize how velocity, and later instantaneous velocity, came to play a vital part in the development of a rigorous mathematical science of motion. ...
The ancient puzzle of the Liar was shown by Tarski to be a genuine paradox or antinomy. I show, analogously, that certain puzzles of contemporary game theory are genuinely paradoxical, i.e., certain very plausible principles of rationality, which are in fact presupposed by game theorists, are inconsistent as naively formulated. ;I use Godel theory to construct three versions of this new paradox, in which the role of 'true' in the Liar paradox is played, respectively, by 'provable', 'self-evident', and 'justifiable'. I (...) also construct in modal operator logic a paradox involving reflexive empirical reasoning. Unlike the paradox of the Liar, the paradox of reflexive reasoning does not depend on self-reference. ;I consider various solutions to the Liar paradox and evaluate how well these solutions cope with the paradox of reflexive reasoning. I then formalize the solution to the paradoxes which I favor: the indexical-hierarchical approach, first sketched out by Charles Parsons and Tyler Burge. In this solution, occurrences of the predicate 'true' in sentence-tokens are contextually relativized to levels of a hierarchy. Drawing also on some brief remarks of Bertrand Russell and Charles Parsons, I develop an account of the kind of schematic generality needed for this theory to be statable. ;Finally, I demonstrate that the principles shown to be paradoxical are in fact presupposed by contemporary game theorists in their reliance on the notion of common knowledge or, more precisely, mutual belief. I create novel analyses of and corresponding solutions to several recalcitrant puzzles within game theory, including the "chain-store paradox". (shrink)
The purpose of this book is to introduce the basic ideas of mathematical proof to students embarking on university mathematics. The emphasis is on helping the reader in understanding and constructing proofs and writing clear mathematics. This is achieved by exploring set theory, combinatorics and number theory, topics which include many fundamental ideas which are part of the tool kit of any mathematician. This material illustrates how familiar ideas can be formulated rigorously, provides examples demonstrating a wide range of (...) basic methods of proof, and includes some of the classic proofs. The book presents mathematics as a continually developing subject. Material meeting the needs of readers from a wide range of backgrounds is included. Over 250 problems include questions to interest and challenge the most able student as well as plenty of routine exercises to help familiarize the reader with the basic ideas. (shrink)
Throughout its long history, mathematics has involved the use ofsystems of written signs, most notably, diagrams in Euclidean geometry and formulae in the symbolic language of arithmetic and algebra in the mathematics of Descartes, Euler, and others. Such systems of signs, I argue, enable one to embody chains of mathematicalreasoning. I then show that, properly understood, Frege’s Begriffsschrift or concept-script similarly enables one to write mathematicalreasoning. Much as a demonstration in Euclid or in early (...) modern algebra does, a proof in Frege’s concept-script shows how it goes. (shrink)
This article outlines a philosophy of science in practice that focuses on the engineering sciences. A methodological issue is that these practices seem to be divided by two different styles of scientific reasoning, namely, causal-mechanistic and mathematicalreasoning. These styles are philosophically characterized by what Kuhn called ?disciplinary matrices?. Due to distinct metaphysical background pictures and/or distinct ideas of what counts as intelligible, they entail distinct ideas of the character of phenomena and what counts as a scientific (...) explanation. It is argued that the two styles cannot be reduced to each other. At the same time, although they are incompatible, they must not be regarded as competing. Instead, they produce different kinds of epistemic results, which serve different kinds of epistemic functions. Moreover, some scientific breakthroughs essentially result from relating them. This view of complementary styles of scientific reasoning is supported by pluralism about metaphysical background pictures. (shrink)
The ancient Greek method of analysis has a rational reconstruction in the form of the tableau method of logical proof. This reconstruction shows that the format of analysis was largely determined by the requirement that proofs could be formulated by reference to geometrical figures. In problematic analysis, it has to be assumed not only that the theorem to be proved is true, but also that it is known. This means using epistemic logic, where instantiations of variables are typically allowed only (...) with respect to known objects. This requirement explains the preoccupation of Greek geometers with questions as to which geometrical objects are ?given?, that is, known or ?data?, as in the title of Euclid's eponymous book. In problematic analysis, constructions had to rely on objects that are known only hypothetically. This seems strange unless one relies on a robust idea of ?unknown? objects in the same sense as the unknowns of algebra. The Greeks did not have such a concept, which made their grasp of the analytic method shaky. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This part of the series has a dual purpose. In the first place we will discuss two kinds of theories of proof. The first kind will be called a theory of linear proof. The second has been called a theory of suppositional proof. The term "natural deduction" has often and correctly been used to refer to the second kind of theory, but I shall not do so here because many of the theories so-called are not of the second kind--they (...) must be thought of either as disguised linear theories or theories of a third kind (see postscript below). The second purpose of this part is 25 to develop some of the main ideas needed in constructing a comprehensive theory of proof. The reason for choosing the linear and suppositional theories for this purpose is because the linear theory includes only rules of a very simple nature, and the suppositional theory can be seen as the result of making the linear theory more comprehensive. CORRECTION: At the time these articles were written the word ‘proof’ especially in the phrase ‘proof from hypotheses’ was widely used to refer to what were earlier and are now called deductions. I ask your forgiveness. I have forgiven Church and Henkin who misled me. (shrink)
Research into mathematics often focuses on basic numerical and spatial intuitions, and one key property of numbers: their magnitude. The fact that mathematics is a system of complex relationships that invokes reasoning usually receives less attention. The purpose of this special issue is to highlight the intricate connections between reasoning and mathematics, and to use insights from the reasoning literature to obtain a more complete understanding of the processes that underlie mathematical cognition. The topics that are (...) discussed range from the basic heuristics and biases to the various ways in which complex, effortful reasoning contributes to mathematical cognition, while also considering the role of individual differences in mathematics performance. These investigations are not only important at a theoretical level, but they also have broad and important practical implications, including the possibility to improve classroom practices and educational outcomes, to facilitate people's decision-making, as well as the clear and accessible communication of numerical information. (shrink)