[FOM] Are proofs in mathematics based on sufficient evidence?

Steve Stevenson steve at cs.clemson.edu
Thu Jul 8 09:35:17 EDT 2010

Question 1 occurred to me in a different context: what is the history  
of mathematical proof vis-a-vis the form of an argument in classical  
rhetoric? I'm not an expert in either but it seems to me they have the  
same form:  "Claim" supported by "Evidence" linked by "Inference" with  
"Warrants" sanctioning the inference. In this way, concepts like  
"sufficiency" are just standard warrants. With this as background, I  
think you're right.

My question is, "What is the history of development of the two  
subjects?" More to the point, are they contemporaneous?

On Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 9:10 PM, Vaughan Pratt <pratt at cs.stanford.edu>  
> My questions are
> 1.  Is mathematical proof so different from say legal proof that the  
> two
> notions should be listed on a disambiguation page as being unrelated
> meanings of the same word, or should they be treated as essentially  
> the
> same notion modulo provenance of evidence and strictness of  
> sufficiency,
> both falling under the definition "sufficient evidence of the truth  
> of a
> proposition."

D. E. Stevenson, School of Computer Science
315 McAdams Hall, Clemson University

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