Probabilistic proofs and transferability

Philosophia Mathematica 17 (3):341-362 (2009)
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Abstract

In a series of papers, Don Fallis points out that although mathematicians are generally unwilling to accept merely probabilistic proofs, they do accept proofs that are incomplete, long and complicated, or partly carried out by computers. He argues that there are no epistemic grounds on which probabilistic proofs can be rejected while these other proofs are accepted. I defend the practice by presenting a property I call ‘transferability’, which probabilistic proofs lack and acceptable proofs have. I also consider what this says about the similarities between mathematics and, on the one hand natural sciences, and on the other hand philosophy

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Kenny Easwaran
Texas A&M University

References found in this work

Mathematical Truth.Paul Benacerraf - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (19):661-679.
Naturalism in Mathematics.Penelope Maddy - 1997 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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