[FOM] Mathematical Certainty?

Miguel A. Lerma mlerma at math.northwestern.edu
Fri Jun 20 17:07:03 EDT 2003

[Harvey Friedman]
 > My favorite is that chain that goes back from something like Mizar to 
 > something irreducibly elemental. Can this be set up in practice? This 
 > could provide some serious practical notion of absolutely correct 
 > proof for serious mathematics. Of course, I am thinking of factoring 
 > out the physics of computers, here.

I do not think that there is any way to guarantee that 
a mathematical proof is completely correct with absolute 
certainty. To me a proof that is exposed for everybody to 
check and resists the proof of time (i.e., time passes and 
nobody can find any serious error in it) is good enough.

Miguel A. Lerma

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