Olofos Seminar session 2 : Understanding mathematical proofs from a planning perspective


22 octobre 2021

14h00 - 16h00

Université de Liège, Place du XX Août 7, 4000 Liège, Département de Philosophie, Espace Philo, 3e étage

The Institut supérieur de philosophie of the UCLouvain, the University of Liège (ULiège), the research centre CEFISES, and the FNRS contact group OLOFOS ((Onto-)LOgical Frameworks Of Science) are very happy to invite everyone interested to the second meeting of this year’s OLOFOS seminar.

Speaker: Yacin Hamami, ULiège

Commentator: Bruno Leclercq, ULiège

Title : Understanding mathematical proofs from a planning perspective

What does it mean to understand a mathematical proof ? Poincaré has suggested that, in understanding a mathematical proof, one wants to know “not only whether all the syllogisms of a demonstration are correct, but why they are linked together in one order rather than in another” (Poincaré, 1908, p.118).

In this talk, I will sketch an account of the understanding of mathematical proofs which aims to be faithful to Poincaré’s perspective. The main idea to be developed is that a mathematical agent understands a mathematical proof whenever she can rationally reconstruct the plan underlying P. This characterization will be fleshed out using the notion of proof plan proposed in Hamami and Morris (forthcoming) which adopts an action-perspective on mathematical proofs and which builds on Bratman’s theory of planning agency (Bratman, 1987). I will illustrate the resulting account on concrete examples, I will argue that it captures important aspects of Poincaré’s perspective, and I will finally compare it to the accounts proposed by Avigad (2008) and Resnik (1996).

Contact : Alexandre Guay (alexandre.guay@uclouvain.be)


Olofos seminar, 2nd session, with Yacin Hamami, ULiège, Bruno Leclercq, ULiège

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