Mathematical Proof and Discovery Reductio ad Absurdum

Informal Logic 28 (3):242-261 (2008)
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The uses and interpretation of reductio ad absurdum argumentation in mathematical proof and discovery are examined, illustrated with elementary and progressively sophisticated examples, and explained. Against Arthur Schopenhauer’s objections, reductio reasoning is defended as a method of uncovering new mathematical truths, and not merely of confirming independently grasped mathematical intuitions. The application of reductio argument is contrasted with purely mechanical brute algorithmic inferences as an art requiring skill and intelligent intervention in the choice of hypotheses and attribution of contradictions deduced to a particular assumption in a contradiction’s derivation base within a reductio proof structure



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What The Tortoise Said To Achilles.Lewis Carroll - 1895 - Mind 104 (416):691-693.
Proofs and Refutations.Imre Lakatos - 1980 - Noûs 14 (3):474-478.
Proofs and refutations (III).Imre Lakatos - 1963 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 14 (55):221-245.

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