Purity in Arithmetic: some Formal and Informal Issues

In Godehard Link (ed.), Formalism and Beyond: On the Nature of Mathematical Discourse. De Gruyter. pp. 315-336 (2014)
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Over the years many mathematicians have voiced a preference for proofs that stay “close” to the statements being proved, avoiding “foreign”, “extraneous”, or “remote” considerations. Such proofs have come to be known as “pure”. Purity issues have arisen repeatedly in the practice of arithmetic; a famous instance is the question of complex-analytic considerations in the proof of the prime number theorem. This article surveys several such issues, and discusses ways in which logical considerations shed light on these issues.
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