Cambridge Core – Philosophy of Science – Proofs and Refutations – edited by Imre Lakatos. PROOFS AND REFUTATIONS. ‘zip fastener’ in a deductive structure goes upwards from the bottom – the conclusion – to the top – the premisses, others say that. I. LAKATOS. 6 7. The Problem of Content Revisited. (a) The naivet6 of the naive conjecture. (b) Induction as the basis of the method of proofs and refutations.

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Both of these examples resonate with my personal mathematical journey. With culture in the place of civilization there can be no question of the transcendent that applies to all men. So now we have got a theorem in which two mystical concepts, bounded variation and Riemann-integrability, occur.

Proofs and Refutations – Wikipedia

Imre Lakatos has written a highly readable book that ought to be read and re-read, to remind current and future generations of mathematicians that mathematics is not a quest for knowledge with an actual end, but shared cultural, even psychological, human activity. There can only be man-the-organism exhibiting behavior much as beavers or wasps build refutayions and nests.

Here is Lakatos talking about the formalists, “Formalism denies the status of mathematics to most of what has been commonly understood to be mathematics, and can say nothing about its growth. And it is presented in the form of poofs entertaining and even suspenseful narrative.

In Appendix I, Lakatos summarizes this method by the following list of stages:.

The complete review ‘s Review:. View all 3 comments.

Proofs and Refutations: The Logic of Mathematical Discovery by Imre Lakatos

I once thought I had found Lakatos to be putting the final nail into the coffin of the certainty of overly rigorous mathematical proof; that slight were the blessings of such rigor compared to loss in clarity and direction in mathematics.

Refutatlons book has been translated into more than 15 languages worldwide, including Chinese, Korean, Serbo-Croat and Turkish, and went into its second Chinese edition in I would have to reread this some day.

One of the issues is, in fact, the definition of a polyhedron, as well as the difference between Eulerian and non-Eulerian polyhedra. To the critics that say such a textbook would be too long, he replies: What’s important here, for the non-mathematically inclined, is to understand how we apply those same formalisms to our day-to-day thought.


I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in mathematics and philosophy. Proof and refutations is set as a dialog between students and teacher, where the teacher slowly goes through teaching a proof while students, representing famous mathematicians pipe in with conjecture and counter points. Portions of Proofs and Refutations were required reading for one of my classes for my master’s degree, but I liked it enough that I finished it after the course was completed.

To create the most apt theorem statement, the proof rdfutations examined for ‘hidden assumptions’, ‘domain of applicability’, and even for sources of definitions.

Proofs and Refutations: The Logic of Mathematical Discovery

Trkstr rated it really liked it May 21, Jul 09, Devi rated it it was amazing Shelves: Surprisingly interesting, like Wittgenstein if he wrote in a human fashion, refutatilns longer than one would think possible given how refuattions the problem initially appears. Lakatos argues that proofs are either far too limited to be of any use, or else they invariable let in some “monsters”. But back to Lakatos. I think we need to revert to an older point of view, echoed as well in the writings refuttions the late Mortimer Adler, propfs also had some points to pick along these lines with modern philosophy and who would have us hearken back to the concreteness of Aristotle.

Jul 08, Vasil Kolev rated it it was amazing Shelves: Although I appreciates Lakatos’ classroom discussion style as original I had proods hard time keeping lakaots with the development of the conversation and keeping the original question in mind. Or perhaps they do for “We might be more interested in this proposition if we really understood just why the Riemann — Stieltjes integrable functions are so important.

So in this dialogue, he exposes those challenges in order to arrive at a better understanding of Euler’s theorem. His main argument takes the form of a dialogue between a number of students and a te It is common for people starting out in Mathematics, by the time they’ve mastered Euclidean Geometry or some other first rigorous branch, to believe in its complete infallibility. Is the theorem wrong, then? This way, the reader has a chance to experience the process.


Refresh and try again. Jan 01, Philip Naw rated it it was amazing.

It fefutations only through a dialectical process, which Lakatos dubs the method of “proofs and refutations,” that mathematicians finally arrive at the subtle definitions and absolute theorems that they later end up taking so much for granted. Theorems begin as mere conjectures, whose proofs are informal and whose terms are vaguely defined.

The additional essays included here another case-study of the proofs-and-refutations idea, and a comparison of The Deductivist versus the Heuristic Approach offer more insight into Lakatos’ philosophy and are welcome appendices.

Sep 30, Robb Seaton rated it it was amazing Shelves: Math as evolving social construct.

A fairly simple mathematical concept is used as an example: The polyhedron-example that is used has, in fact, a long and storied refutatjons, and Lakatos uses this to keep the example from being simply an abstract one — the book allows one to see the historical progression of maths, and to hear the echoes of wnd voices of past mathematicians that grappled with the same question. If something is mathematically proven we know beyond any shadow of a doubt that it is true because it follows from elementary axioms.

We assume, incorrectly that mathematics are solid continents of rules and facts, but what we observe are loosely connected archipelagos of calibrated and stable forms where those islands are in constant risk of being retaken by the sea. This gives mathematics a somewhat experimental flavour. And much to my liking. This poverty of rewards is the explicit claim of Kline, whom I had read years before coming across Lakatos.

I am not a philosopher and so I make no pretense to speak authoritatively about this. May 12, Ari rated it really liked it.