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Envisioning Transformations – The Practice of Topology

In Brendan Larvor (ed.), Mathematical Cultures: The London Meetings 2012--2014. Zurich, Switzerland: Birkhäuser. pp. 25-50 (2016)

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  1. Induction and Explanatory Definitions in Mathematics.Lehet Ellen - 2019 - Synthese 198 (2):1161-1175.
    In this paper, I argue that there are cases of explanatory induction in mathematics. To do so, I first introduce the notion of explanatory definition in the context of mathematical explanation. A large part of the paper is dedicated to introducing and analyzing this notion of explanatory definition and the role it plays in mathematics. After doing so, I discuss a particular inductive definition in advanced mathematics—CW\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$${ CW}$$\end{document}-complexes—and argue that it is (...)
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  • Why ‘Scaffolding’ is the Wrong Metaphor: The Cognitive Usefulness of Mathematical Representations.Brendan Larvor - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):3743-3756.
    The metaphor of scaffolding has become current in discussions of the cognitive help we get from artefacts, environmental affordances and each other. Consideration of mathematical tools and representations indicates that in these cases at least, scaffolding is the wrong picture, because scaffolding in good order is immobile, temporary and crude. Mathematical representations can be manipulated, are not temporary structures to aid development, and are refined. Reflection on examples from elementary algebra indicates that Menary is on the right track with his (...)
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  • From Euclidean Geometry to Knots and Nets.Brendan Larvor - 2017 - Synthese:1-22.
    This paper assumes the success of arguments against the view that informal mathematical proofs secure rational conviction in virtue of their relations with corresponding formal derivations. This assumption entails a need for an alternative account of the logic of informal mathematical proofs. Following examination of case studies by Manders, De Toffoli and Giardino, Leitgeb, Feferman and others, this paper proposes a framework for analysing those informal proofs that appeal to the perception or modification of diagrams or to the inspection or (...)
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  • Reliability of Mathematical Inference.Jeremy Avigad - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    Of all the demands that mathematics imposes on its practitioners, one of the most fundamental is that proofs ought to be correct. It has been common since the turn of the twentieth century to take correctness to be underwritten by the existence of formal derivations in a suitable axiomatic foundation, but then it is hard to see how this normative standard can be met, given the differences between informal proofs and formal derivations, and given the inherent fragility and complexity of (...)
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