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Go forth and multiply! Imperatives in mathematical proofs

Presented by: 
Fenner Tanswell University of Oxford
Tuesday 18th July 2017 - 15:30 to 16:00
INI Seminar Room 2
In this talk I will emphasise the activity of proving in securing mathematical knowledge. I will be drawing on observations of the language used in mathematical proofs to argue that the proofs themselves can contain a mix of propositional and imperatival content, very much in the style of a recipe or set of instructions for other mathematicians to carry out the same proving activity. This also applies to diagrams in proofs, which I shall compare to instructions for LEGO models and Ikea furniture. The idea is that this will then provide a natural picture of informal proofs and their epistemic significance, fitting in with modern approaches in epistemology, especially on knowledge-how and virtue epistemology.

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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons