19 found
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  1. Beauty Is Not Simplicity: An Analysis of Mathematicians' Proof Appraisals.Matthew Inglis & Andrew Aberdein - 2015 - Philosophia Mathematica 23 (1):87-109.
    What do mathematicians mean when they use terms such as ‘deep’, ‘elegant’, and ‘beautiful’? By applying empirical methods developed by social psychologists, we demonstrate that mathematicians' appraisals of proofs vary on four dimensions: aesthetics, intricacy, utility, and precision. We pay particular attention to mathematical beauty and show that, contrary to the classical view, beauty and simplicity are almost entirely unrelated in mathematics.
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  2.  66
    Functional explanation in mathematics.Matthew Inglis & Juan Pablo Mejía Ramos - 2019 - Synthese 198 (26):6369-6392.
    Mathematical explanations are poorly understood. Although mathematicians seem to regularly suggest that some proofs are explanatory whereas others are not, none of the philosophical accounts of what such claims mean has become widely accepted. In this paper we explore Wilkenfeld’s suggestion that explanations are those sorts of things that generate understanding. By considering a basic model of human cognitive architecture, we suggest that existing accounts of mathematical explanation are all derivable consequences of Wilkenfeld’s ‘functional explanation’ proposal. We therefore argue that (...)
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  3. Diversity in proof appraisal.Matthew Inglis & Andrew Aberdein - 2016 - In Brendan Larvor (ed.), Mathematical Cultures: The London Meetings 2012-2014. Springer International Publishing. pp. 163-179.
    We investigated whether mathematicians typically agree about the qualities of mathematical proofs. Between-mathematician consensus in proof appraisals is an implicit assumption of many arguments made by philosophers of mathematics, but to our knowledge the issue has not previously been empirically investigated. We asked a group of mathematicians to assess a specific proof on four dimensions, using the framework identified by Inglis and Aberdein (2015). We found widespread disagreement between our participants about the aesthetics, intricacy, precision and utility of the proof, (...)
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  4. Using corpus linguistics to investigate mathematical explanation.Juan Pablo Mejía Ramos, Lara Alcock, Kristen Lew, Paolo Rago, Chris Sangwin & Matthew Inglis - 2019 - In Eugen Fischer & Mark Curtis (eds.), Methodological Advances in Experimental Philosophy. London: Bloomsbury Press. pp. 239–263.
    In this chapter we use methods of corpus linguistics to investigate the ways in which mathematicians describe their work as explanatory in their research papers. We analyse use of the words explain/explanation (and various related words and expressions) in a large corpus of texts containing research papers in mathematics and in physical sciences, comparing this with their use in corpora of general, day-to-day English. We find that although mathematicians do use this family of words, such use is considerably less prevalent (...)
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  5.  67
    Mathematicians’ Assessments of the Explanatory Value of Proofs.Juan Pablo Mejía Ramos, Tanya Evans, Colin Rittberg & Matthew Inglis - 2021 - Axiomathes 31 (5):575-599.
    The literature on mathematical explanation contains numerous examples of explanatory, and not so explanatory proofs. In this paper we report results of an empirical study aimed at investigating mathematicians’ notion of explanatoriness, and its relationship to accounts of mathematical explanation. Using a Comparative Judgement approach, we asked 38 mathematicians to assess the explanatory value of several proofs of the same proposition. We found an extremely high level of agreement among mathematicians, and some inconsistencies between their assessments and claims in the (...)
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  6. On Mathematicians' Different Standards When Evaluating Elementary Proofs.Matthew Inglis, Juan Pablo Mejia-Ramos, Keith Weber & Lara Alcock - 2013 - Topics in Cognitive Science 5 (2):270-282.
    In this article, we report a study in which 109 research-active mathematicians were asked to judge the validity of a purported proof in undergraduate calculus. Significant results from our study were as follows: (a) there was substantial disagreement among mathematicians regarding whether the argument was a valid proof, (b) applied mathematicians were more likely than pure mathematicians to judge the argument valid, (c) participants who judged the argument invalid were more confident in their judgments than those who judged it valid, (...)
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  7.  34
    Iconicity in mathematical notation: commutativity and symmetry.Theresa Wege, Sophie Batchelor, Matthew Inglis, Honali Mistry & Dirk Schlimm - 2020 - Journal of Numerical Cognition 3 (6):378-392.
    Mathematical notation includes a vast array of signs. Most mathematical signs appear to be symbolic, in the sense that their meaning is arbitrarily related to their visual appearance. We explored the hypothesis that mathematical signs with iconic aspects—those which visually resemble in some way the concepts they represent—offer a cognitive advantage over those which are purely symbolic. An early formulation of this hypothesis was made by Christine Ladd in 1883 who suggested that symmetrical signs should be used to convey commutative (...)
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  8.  86
    Are Aesthetic Judgements Purely Aesthetic? Testing the Social Conformity Account.Matthew Inglis & Andrew Aberdein - 2020 - ZDM 52 (6):1127-1136.
    Many of the methods commonly used to research mathematical practice, such as analyses of historical episodes or individual cases, are particularly well-suited to generating causal hypotheses, but less well-suited to testing causal hypotheses. In this paper we reflect on the contribution that the so-called hypothetico-deductive method, with a particular focus on experimental studies, can make to our understanding of mathematical practice. By way of illustration, we report an experiment that investigated how mathematicians attribute aesthetic properties to mathematical proofs. We demonstrate (...)
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  9.  15
    Do Mathematicians Agree about Mathematical Beauty?Rentuya Sa, Lara Alcock, Matthew Inglis & Fenner Stanley Tanswell - 2024 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 15 (1):299-325.
    Mathematicians often conduct aesthetic judgements to evaluate mathematical objects such as equations or proofs. But is there a consensus about which mathematical objects are beautiful? We used a comparative judgement technique to measure aesthetic intuitions among British mathematicians, Chinese mathematicians, and British mathematics undergraduates, with the aim of assessing whether judgements of mathematical beauty are influenced by cultural differences or levels of expertise. We found aesthetic agreement both within and across these demographic groups. We conclude that judgements of mathematical beauty (...)
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  10.  51
    Sampling from the mental number line: How are approximate number system representations formed?Matthew Inglis & Camilla Gilmore - 2013 - Cognition 129 (1):63-69.
    Nonsymbolic comparison tasks are commonly used to index the acuity of an individual's Approximate Number System (ANS), a cognitive mechanism believed to be involved in the development of number skills. Here we asked whether the time that an individual spends observing numerical stimuli influences the precision of the resultant ANS representations. Contrary to standard computational models of the ANS, we found that the longer the stimulus was displayed, the more precise was the resultant representation. We propose an adaptation of the (...)
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  11. Introduction.Andrew Aberdein & Matthew Inglis - 2019 - In Andrew Aberdein & Matthew Inglis (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 1-13.
    There has been little overt discussion of the experimental philosophy of logic or mathematics. So it may be tempting to assume that application of the methods of experimental philosophy to these areas is impractical or unavailing. This assumption is undercut by three trends in recent research: a renewed interest in historical antecedents of experimental philosophy in philosophical logic; a “practice turn” in the philosophies of mathematics and logic; and philosophical interest in a substantial body of work in adjacent disciplines, such (...)
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  12.  81
    On the persuasiveness of visual arguments in mathematics.Matthew Inglis & Juan Pablo Mejía-Ramos - 2009 - Foundations of Science 14 (1-2):97-110.
    Two experiments are reported which investigate the factors that influence how persuaded mathematicians are by visual arguments. We demonstrate that if a visual argument is accompanied by a passage of text which describes the image, both research-active mathematicians and successful undergraduate mathematics students perceive it to be significantly more persuasive than if no text is given. We suggest that mathematicians’ epistemological concerns about supporting a claim using visual images are less prominent when the image is described in words. Finally we (...)
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  13.  83
    Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics.Andrew Aberdein & Matthew Inglis (eds.) - 2019 - London: Bloomsbury Academic.
    This book explores the results of applying empirical methods to the philosophy of logic and mathematics. Much of the work that has earned experimental philosophy a prominent place in twenty-first century philosophy is concerned with ethics or epistemology. But, as this book shows, empirical methods are just as much at home in logic and the philosophy of mathematics. -/- Chapters demonstrate and discuss the applicability of a wide range of empirical methods including experiments, surveys, interviews, and data-mining. Distinct themes emerge (...)
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  14.  10
    Does mathematical study develop logical thinking?: testing the theory of formal discipline.Matthew Inglis - 2017 - New Jersey: World Scientific. Edited by Nina Attridge.
    "This book is interesting and well-written. The research methods were explained clearly and conclusions were summarized nicely. It is a relatively quick read at only 130 pages. Anyone who has been told, or who has told others, that mathematicians make better thinkers should read this book." MAA Reviews "The authors particularly attend to protecting positive correlations against the self-selection interpretation, merely that logical minds elect studying more mathematics. Here, one finds a stimulating survey of the systemic difficulties people have with (...)
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  15.  24
    Is the ANS linked to mathematics performance?Matthew Inglis, Sophie Batchelor, Camilla Gilmore & Derrick G. Watson - 2017 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40.
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  16.  3
    The Language of Proofs: A Philosophical Corpus Linguistics Study of Instructions and Imperatives in Mathematical Texts.Fenner Stanley Tanswell & Matthew Inglis - 2024 - In Bharath Sriraman (ed.), Handbook of the History and Philosophy of Mathematical Practice. Cham: Springer. pp. 2925-2952.
    A common description of a mathematical proof is as a logically structured sequence of assertions, beginning from accepted premises and proceeding by standard inference rules to a conclusion. Does this description match the language of proofs as mathematicians write them in their research articles? In this chapter, we use methods from corpus linguistics to look at the prevalence of imperatives and instructions in mathematical preprints from the arXiv repository. We find thirteen verbs that are used most often to form imperatives (...)
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  17.  35
    Intelligence and negation biases on the Conditional Inference Task: A dual-processes analysis.Nina Attridge & Matthew Inglis - 2014 - Thinking and Reasoning 20 (4):454-471.
    We examined a large set of conditional inference data compiled from several previous studies and asked three questions: How is normative performance related to intelligence? Does negative conclusion bias stem from Type 1 or Type 2 processing? Does implicit negation bias stem from Type 1 or Type 2 processing? Our analysis demonstrated that rejecting denial of the antecedent and affirmation of the consequent inferences was positively correlated with intelligence, while endorsing modus tollens inferences was not; that the occurrence of negative (...)
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  18.  2
    Tense in Mathematical English.Matthew Inglis & Jacob Strauss - 2024 - Global Philosophy 34 (1):1-4.
    Many authors have commented on the relative frequency of the present tense—and the relative infrequency of the past tense—in mathematical writing. However, none (to our knowledge) have provided an estimate for the size of this effect or explored how universal it is. In this short note we report an analysis of corpora of mathematical and day-to-day English. We conclude that the present-to-past ratio of tenses is at least 3:1 in mathematical English, compared to approximately 5:7 in day-to-day English. Further, we (...)
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  19. Mathematics Education Research on Mathematical Practice.Keith Weber & Matthew Inglis - 2024 - In Bharath Sriraman (ed.), Handbook of the History and Philosophy of Mathematical Practice. Cham: Springer. pp. 2637-2663.
    In the mathematics education research literature, there is a growing body of scholarship on how mathematicians practice their craft. The purpose of this chapter is to survey some of this literature and explain how it can contribute to the philosophy of mathematical practice. We first describe how mathematics educators use empirical methodologies to investigate the behaviors of mathematicians and argue that findings from these studies can inform the philosophy of mathematical practice. We then illustrate this by summarizing research on mathematicians’ (...)
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