Mathematical Proof and Genre Theory
To write an intro
In seventeen syllables
Is very diffi—
Although the words above follow a traditional haiku’s 5-7-5 pattern, they may be more aptly described as a joke—indeed a silly one. Yet in essence, it describes a key message of this paper: a genre is more accurately defined and analyzed by the interaction between its form and the intent it pursues than by its form alone. Using this modern understanding of what it means to be a genre, we explore the genre of mathematical proof and borrow from genre theory to pose questions about proof that have not yet been formulated from this conceptual foundation.
Mathematics that is generative and relevant is, at its heart, creative. Yet the primary means for developing, communicating, and sanctioning new knowledge—proof—often fails to support and reflect the importance of creativity in mathematics. It is with deference to creativity that we seek to apply a conceptual apparatus that originated in the humanities for the study of literature,...
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