Date of Original Version



Book Chapter

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Abstract or Description

This essay considers the special character of mathematical reasoning, and draws on observations from interactive theorem proving and the history of mathematics to clarify the nature of formal and informal mathematical language. It proposes that we view mathematics as a system of conventions and norms that is designed to help us make sense of the world and reason efficiently. Like any designed system, it can perform well or poorly, and the philosophy of mathematics has a role to play in helping us understand the general principles by which it serves its purposes well.





Published In

Mathematics, Substance and Surmise (Editors: Ernest Davis, Philip J. Davis), 235-255.