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Proofs and Refutations


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Table of Contents

Editors' preface; Acknowledgments; Author's introduction; 1. A problem and a conjecture; 2. A proof; 3. Criticism of the proof by counterexamples which are local but not global; 4. Criticism of the conjecture by global counterexamples; 5. Criticism of the proof-analysis by counterexamples which are global but not local: the problem of rigour; 6. Return to criticism of the proof by counterexamples which are local but not global: the problem of content; 7. The problem of content revisited; 8. Concept-formation; 9. How criticism may turn mathematical truth into logical truth; Appendices; Bibliography; Index of names; Index of subjects.

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Proofs and Refutations is for those interested in the methodology, philosophy and history of mathematics.


'For anyone interested in mathematics who has not encountered the work of the late Imre Lakatos before, this book is a treasure; and those who know well the famous dialogue, first published in 1963-64 in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, that forms the greater part of this book, will be eager to read the supplementary material ... the book, as it stands, is rich and stimulating, and, unlike most writings on the philosophy of mathematics, succeeds in making excellent use of detailed observations about mathematics as it is actually practised.' Michael Dummett, Nature 'The whole book, as well as being a delightful read, is of immense value to anyone concerned with mathematical education at any level.' C. W. Kilmister, The Times Higher Education Supplement 'In this book the late Imre Lakatos explores 'the logic of discovery' and 'the logic of justification' as applied to mathematics ... The arguments presented are deep ... but the author's lucid literary style greatly facilitates their comprehension ... The book is destined to become a classic. It should be read by all those who would understand more about the nature of mathematics, of how it is created and how it might best be taught.' Education

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