Proof pp 1-6 | Cite as

What is proof?

  • C. Plumpton
  • R. L. Perry
  • E. Shipton
Chapter
Part of the Core Books in Advanced Mathematics book series

Abstract

Among other things, mathematics deals with numbers, symbols, operations, spatial properties and problem solving. Since earliest times the subject has been developed by mathematicians having an intuitive feeling that some proposition is true and then demonstrating the truth, or otherwise, of this proposition by logical argument. When studying mathematics at secondary school, pupils are mainly concerned with learning techniques but, in reality, pure mathematics is mainly concerned with proof. Theorems and proofs did not occur to their originators in the ‘semi-polished’ form which you find in textbooks. The mathematician has an intuitive, instinctive feeling that some proposition may be true. The essence of proof is to establish whether the result is, indeed, true or whether he has been deceived by such a feeling. In this book we discuss various methods of proof which are commonly used in mathematics. Fundamentally, mathematical proof is based on logical argument, that is, to establish from a hypothesis ‘p is true’ a conclusion ‘q is true’.

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Copyright information

© C. Plumpton, R. L. Perry and E. Shipton 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Plumpton
    • 1
  • R. L. Perry
    • 2
  • E. Shipton
    • 3
  1. 1.University of London School Examinations DepartmentQueen Mary College, University of LondonUK
  2. 2.University of London School Examinations DepartmentQueen Elizabeth College, University of LondonUK
  3. 3.University of London School Examinations DepartmentOwen’s SchoolPotters BarUK

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