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

Richard Heck rgheck at brown.edu
Fri Jul 9 12:24:15 EDT 2010

On 07/08/2010 09:35 AM, Steve Stevenson wrote:
> 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?
Others would know better than I, but all of these have common roots, in 
some sense, in Aristotle, and his treatment of the issues is largely 
separate. I.e., he wrote three books on such topics, the /Prior 
Analytics/, the /Posterior Analytics/, and the /Rhetoric/. In some 
sense, they draw on each other, but I don't think the last has much to 
do with mathematics.


Richard G Heck Jr
Romeo Elton Professor of Natural Theology
Brown University

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