# Groundwork for a Fallibilist Account of Mathematics

*Philosophical Quarterly*7 (4):823-844 (2021)

# Abstract

According to the received view, genuine mathematical justification derives from proofs. In this article, I challenge this view. First, I sketch a notion of proof that cannot be reduced to deduction from the axioms but rather is tailored to human agents. Secondly, I identify a tension between the received view and mathematical practice. In some cases, cognitively diligent, well-functioning mathematicians go wrong. In these cases, it is plausible to think that proof sets the bar for justification too high. I then propose a fallibilist account of mathematical justification. I show that the main function of mathematical justification is to guarantee that the mathematical community can correct the errors that inevitably arise from our fallible practices.# Author's Profile

# DOI

10.1093/pq/pqaa076

# Analytics

**Added to PP**

2020-12-14

**Downloads**

1,218 (#4,818)

**6 months**

146 (#3,610)

**Historical graph of downloads since first upload**

*This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.*