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  • How Mathematicians Determine if an Argument Is a Valid Proof

    Keith Weber
    The purpose of this article is to investigate the mathematical practice of proof validation-that is, the act of determining whether an argument constitutes a valid proof. The results of a study with 8 mathematicians are reported. The mathematicians were observed as they read purported mathematical proofs and made judgments   about their validity; they were then asked reflective interview questions about their validation processes and their views on proving. The results suggest that mathematicians use several different modes of reasoning in proof validation, including formal reasoning and the construction of rigorous proofs, informal deductive reasoning, and example-based reasoning.    

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