Negotiating Arithmetic, Constructing Proof: The Sociology of Mathematics and Information Technology by Donald MacKenzie

Social Studies of Science, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Feb., 1993), pp. 37-65

This paper documents an interesting controversy about the nature of proof and thus what really constitutes mathematical knowledge. MacKenzie explains how a computer system’s claims to proven consistency led to the near-fulfilment of his prediction that a debate would arise in a court of law about the precise nature of mathematical proof. Some interesting comments about the operational nature of proof came from this controversial paper, which I must look up:

R.A. DeMillo, R.J. Lipton and A.J. Perlis, ‘Social Processes and Proofs of Theorems and Programs’, Communications of the Association of Computing Machinery, Vol. 22 (1979), 271-80, at 273-75.


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