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How to think about informal proofs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • 904683

    Accepted author manuscript, 272 KB, PDF document

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)715-730
Journal publication date1 Jul 2012
Early online date9 Sep 2011
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012


It is argued in this study that (i) progress in the philosophy of mathematical practice requires a general positive account of informal proof; (ii) the best candidate is to think of informal proofs as arguments that depend on their matter as well as their logical form; (iii) articulating the dependency of informal inferences on their content requires a redefinition of logic as the general study of inferential actions; (iv) it is a decisive advantage of this conception of logic that it accommodates the many mathematical proofs that include actions on objects other than propositions; (v) this conception of logic permits the articulation of project-sized tasks for the philosophy of mathematical practice, thereby supplying a partial characterisation of normal research in the field


This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of the following article: Brendan Larvor, ‘How to think about informal proofs’, Synthese, Vol. 187(2): 715-730, first published online 9 September 2011. The final publication is available at Springer via doi:10.1007/s11229-011-0007-5

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