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Reconciling Rigor and Intuition

Erkenntnis 86 (6):1783-1802 (2020)

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  1. Visual Proofs as Counterexamples to the Standard View of Informal Mathematical Proofs?Simon Weisgerber - 2022 - In Giardino V., Linker S., Burns R., Bellucci F., Boucheix Jm & Viana P. (eds.), Diagrammatic Representation and Inference. Diagrams 2022. Springer, Cham. pp. 37-53.
    A passage from Jody Azzouni’s article “The Algorithmic-Device View of Informal Rigorous Mathematical Proof” in which he argues against Hamami and Avigad’s standard view of informal mathematical proof with the help of a specific visual proof of 1/2+1/4+1/8+1/16+⋯=1 is critically examined. By reference to mathematicians’ judgments about visual proofs in general, it is argued that Azzouni’s critique of Hamami and Avigad’s account is not valid. Nevertheless, by identifying a necessary condition for the visual proof to be considered a proper proof (...)
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  • What are mathematical diagrams?Silvia De Toffoli - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-29.
    Although traditionally neglected, mathematical diagrams have recently begun to attract attention from philosophers of mathematics. By now, the literature includes several case studies investigating the role of diagrams both in discovery and justification. Certain preliminary questions have, however, been mostly bypassed. What are diagrams exactly? Are there different types of diagrams? In the scholarly literature, the term “mathematical diagram” is used in diverse ways. I propose a working definition that carves out the phenomena that are of most importance for a (...)
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  • The Practice-Based Approach to the Philosophy of Logic.Ben Martin - forthcoming - In Oxford Handbook for the Philosophy of Logic. Oxford University Press.
    Philosophers of logic are particularly interested in understanding the aims, epistemology, and methodology of logic. This raises the question of how the philosophy of logic should go about these enquires. According to the practice-based approach, the most reliable method we have to investigate the methodology and epistemology of a research field is by considering in detail the activities of its practitioners. This holds just as true for logic as it does for the recognised empirical and abstract sciences. If we wish (...)
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  • Role of Imagination and Anticipation in the Acceptance of Computability Proofs: A Challenge to the Standard Account of Rigor.Keith Weber - 2022 - Philosophia Mathematica 30 (3):343-368.
    In a 2022 paper, Hamami claimed that the orthodox view in mathematics is that a proof is rigorous if it can be translated into a derivation. Hamami then developed a descriptive account that explains how mathematicians check proofs for rigor in this sense and how they develop the capacity to do so. By exploring introductory texts in computability theory, we demonstrate that Hamami’s descriptive account does not accord with actual mathematical practice with respect to computability theory. We argue instead for (...)
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  • Instructions and constructions in set theory proofs.Keith Weber - 2023 - Synthese 202 (2):1-17.
    Traditional models of mathematical proof describe proofs as sequences of assertion where each assertion is a claim about mathematical objects. However, Tanswell observed that in practice, many proofs do not follow these models. Proofs often contain imperatives, and other instructions for the reader to perform mathematical actions. The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of instructions in proofs by systematically analyzing how instructions are used in Kunen’s Set theory: An introduction to independence proofs, a widely used graduate (...)
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  • The philosophy of logical practice.Ben Martin - 2022 - Metaphilosophy 53 (2-3):267-283.
    Metaphilosophy, Volume 53, Issue 2-3, Page 267-283, April 2022.
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  • Who's Afraid of Mathematical Diagrams?Silvia De Toffoli - 2023 - Philosophers' Imprint 23 (1).
    Mathematical diagrams are frequently used in contemporary mathematics. They are, however, widely seen as not contributing to the justificatory force of proofs: they are considered to be either mere illustrations or shorthand for non-diagrammatic expressions. Moreover, when they are used inferentially, they are seen as threatening the reliability of proofs. In this paper, I examine certain examples of diagrams that resist this type of dismissive characterization. By presenting two diagrammatic proofs, one from topology and one from algebra, I show that (...)
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  • Recalcitrant Disagreement in Mathematics: An “Endless and Depressing Controversy” in the History of Italian Algebraic Geometry.Silvia De Toffoli & Claudio Fontanari - 2023 - Global Philosophy 33 (38):1-29.
    If there is an area of discourse in which disagreement is virtually absent, it is mathematics. After all, mathematicians justify their claims with deductive proofs: arguments that entail their conclusions. But is mathematics really exceptional in this respect? Looking at the history and practice of mathematics, we soon realize that it is not. First, deductive arguments must start somewhere. How should we choose the starting points (i.e., the axioms)? Second, mathematicians, like the rest of us, are fallible. Their ability to (...)
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  • What Logical Evidence Could not be.Matteo Baggio - 2023 - Philosophia 51 (5):2559–2587.
    By playing a crucial role in settling open issues in the philosophical debate about logical consequence, logical evidence has become the holy grail of inquirers investigating the domain of logic. However, despite its indispensable role in this endeavor, logical evidence has retained an aura of mystery. Indeed, there seems to be a great disharmony in conceiving the correct nature and scope of logical evidence among philosophers. In this paper, I examine four widespread conceptions of logical evidence to argue that all (...)
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  • The Epistemological Subject(s) of Mathematics.Silvia De Toffoli - 2023 - In B. Sriraman (ed.), Handbook of the History and Philosophy of Mathematical Practice. Switzerland: Springer Nature. pp. 1-27.
    Paying attention to the inner workings of mathematicians has led to a proliferation of new themes in the philosophy of mathematics. Several of these have to do with epistemology. Philosophers of mathematical practice, however, have not (yet) systematically engaged with general (analytic) epistemology. To be sure, there are some exceptions, but they are few and far between. In this chapter, I offer an explanation of why this might be the case and show how the situation could be remedied. I contend (...)
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  • Philosophy of mathematics.Leon Horsten - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    If mathematics is regarded as a science, then the philosophy of mathematics can be regarded as a branch of the philosophy of science, next to disciplines such as the philosophy of physics and the philosophy of biology. However, because of its subject matter, the philosophy of mathematics occupies a special place in the philosophy of science. Whereas the natural sciences investigate entities that are located in space and time, it is not at all obvious that this is also the case (...)
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  • Intersubjective Propositional Justification.Silvia De Toffoli - 2022 - In Luis R. G. Oliveira & Paul Silva Jr (eds.), Propositional and Doxastic Justification. Routledge. pp. 241-262.
    The distinction between propositional and doxastic justification is well-known among epistemologists. Propositional justification is often conceived as fundamental and characterized in an entirely apsychological way. In this chapter, I focus on beliefs based on deductive arguments. I argue that such an apsychological notion of propositional justification can hardly be reconciled with the idea that justification is a central component of knowledge. In order to propose an alternative notion, I start with the analysis of doxastic justification. I then offer a notion (...)
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  • What is Mathematical Rigor?John Burgess & Silvia De Toffoli - 2022 - Aphex 25:1-17.
    Rigorous proof is supposed to guarantee that the premises invoked imply the conclusion reached, and the problem of rigor may be described as that of bringing together the perspectives of formal logic and mathematical practice on how this is to be achieved. This problem has recently raised a lot of discussion among philosophers of mathematics. We survey some possible solutions and argue that failure to understand its terms properly has led to misunderstandings in the literature.
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