What do mathematicians want? Probabilistic proofs and the epistemic goals of mathematicians

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16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Several philosophers have used the framework of means/ends reasoning to explain the methodological choices made by scientists and mathematicians (see, e.g., Goldman 1999, Levi 1962, Maddy 1997). In particular, they have tried to identify the epistemic objectives of scientists and mathematicians that will explain these choices. In this paper, the framework of means/ends reasoning is used to study an important methodological choice made by mathematicians. Namely, mathematicians will only use deductive proofs to establish the truth of mathematical claims. In this paper, I argue that none of the epistemic objectives of mathematicians that are currently on the table provide a satisfactory explanation of this rejection of probabilistic proofs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-388
Number of pages16
JournalLogique et Analyse
Volume45
Issue number179-180
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

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