Project

Mathematical Explanation: Why Does It Matter?

Code
3G005321
Duration
01 January 2021 → 31 December 2024
Funding
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Promotor
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • General philosophy of science
    • Philosophy of mathematics
    • Philosophy of natural sciences
Keywords
philosophy
 
Project description

Throughout the history of mathematics, contemporary mathematics included, mathematicians have re-proved theorems by means of different proofs. The Pythagorean theorem is a clear example of this mathematical practice: more than 350 proofs have been documented. During the last decades, several philosophers of mathematics have argued that there is a distinction between explanatory and non-explanatory proofs. The idea is that, while all proofs of theorem T show that T is true, some proofs also reveal why T is true. The aim of this project is to increase our insight into what makes explanatory proofs important. What is gained by having an explanatory proof? What does the explanatory value of explanatory proofs consist in? These questions are addressed in this project.