### Abstract

Recently, certain philosophers of mathematics (Fallis [1997]; Womack and Farach [1997]) have argued that there are no epistemic considerations that should stop mathematicians from using probabilistic methods to establish that mathematical propositions are true. However, mathematicians clearly should not use methods that are unreliable. Unfortunately, due to the fact that randomized algorithms are not really random in practice, there is reason to doubt their reliability. In this paper, I analyze the prospects for establishing that randomized algorithms are reliable. I end by arguing that it would be inconsistent for mathematicians to suspend judgement on the truth of mathematical propositions on the basis of worries about the reliability of randomized algorithms.

Original language | English (US) |
---|---|

Pages (from-to) | 255-271 |

Number of pages | 17 |

Journal | British Journal for the Philosophy of Science |

Volume | 51 |

Issue number | 2 |

State | Published - Jun 2000 |

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### ASJC Scopus subject areas

- History
- History and Philosophy of Science
- Philosophy

### Cite this

*British Journal for the Philosophy of Science*,

*51*(2), 255-271.

**The reliability of randomized algorithms.** / Fallis, Don T.

Research output: Contribution to journal › Article

*British Journal for the Philosophy of Science*, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 255-271.

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The reliability of randomized algorithms

AU - Fallis, Don T

PY - 2000/6

Y1 - 2000/6

N2 - Recently, certain philosophers of mathematics (Fallis [1997]; Womack and Farach [1997]) have argued that there are no epistemic considerations that should stop mathematicians from using probabilistic methods to establish that mathematical propositions are true. However, mathematicians clearly should not use methods that are unreliable. Unfortunately, due to the fact that randomized algorithms are not really random in practice, there is reason to doubt their reliability. In this paper, I analyze the prospects for establishing that randomized algorithms are reliable. I end by arguing that it would be inconsistent for mathematicians to suspend judgement on the truth of mathematical propositions on the basis of worries about the reliability of randomized algorithms.

AB - Recently, certain philosophers of mathematics (Fallis [1997]; Womack and Farach [1997]) have argued that there are no epistemic considerations that should stop mathematicians from using probabilistic methods to establish that mathematical propositions are true. However, mathematicians clearly should not use methods that are unreliable. Unfortunately, due to the fact that randomized algorithms are not really random in practice, there is reason to doubt their reliability. In this paper, I analyze the prospects for establishing that randomized algorithms are reliable. I end by arguing that it would be inconsistent for mathematicians to suspend judgement on the truth of mathematical propositions on the basis of worries about the reliability of randomized algorithms.

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UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0039331126&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0039331126

VL - 51

SP - 255

EP - 271

JO - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

JF - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

SN - 0007-0882

IS - 2

ER -