Questions tagged [proof]

For questions about the correctness of a proof or the nature of proofs in general.

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64
votes
12answers
15k views

Can you prove anything in philosophy?

I don't understand philosophy very well, and so I am wondering whether you can "prove" anything in philosophy. It always seems you can go a layer down, and find another question, almost endlessly ...
40
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15answers
14k views

Does a negative claimant have a burden of proof?

I have often heard it said that the burden of proof is on the positive claimant but not on the one making a negative claim. A person claiming, "God exists" has a burden of proof but not a person ...
10
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11answers
1k views

What makes something mathematics?

What classifies something as math? Is "math" simply performing operations with a certain set of axioms in mind? Is "math" anything that involves numbers? What about mathematical logic? Google ...
8
votes
4answers
8k views

How does one prove De Morgan's laws for quantifiers?

One of De Morgan's laws state that ¬∃x P(x) is equivalent to ∀x ¬P(x), but how would one go about formally proving this? Numerous attempts to find a solution have been futile, even proofwiki.org ...
6
votes
4answers
542 views

Can something “count” as TRUE without support by logic and empirical data?

I was in an online debate and had this statement presented to me. I would note further that your apparent positivism rests on what is logically a faith claim - specifically, the unproveble claim ...
3
votes
2answers
489 views

Can there be true conclusions without assumptions?

I was thinking of the sentence "I think therefore I am", which I had for a long time considered indisputable because it's self-evident. Then I considered the hypothetical situation where my ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is Modus Ponens valid?

I am having trouble understanding what defines Entailment operator. On Mathoverflow I posted this question on what I perceive to be paradox of entailment. Consider: Modus Ponens: P therefore Q P ...
6
votes
5answers
5k views

What is the difference between mathematical reasoning and philosophical reasoning?

Please see question in title. Why isn't philosophy considered to be a branch of mathematics? Is study of anything not a branch of mathematics, vague and imprecise?
11
votes
9answers
1k views

Is a proof still valid if only the author understands it?

Some time ago I was reading about the recent Shinichi Mochizuki's proof for the famous ABC conjecture. It's enormous and so incredibly difficult that at that time virtually nobody was able to ...
6
votes
6answers
527 views

What does it mean that a claim is a claim of nonexistence?

This question has devolved into a discussion. As I understand the discussion, everything is revolving around the veracity of statement Nonexistence can never be proven. and on what exactly ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

Is any aspect of the supernatural testable? What level of proof is possible for the supernatural?

Assume the supernatural does exist, and consists of beings/forces that can interact with our natural universe in ways that are contrary to the natural laws of this universe (at least as we know them). ...
1
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7answers
686 views

The blur between proof and evidence [closed]

Consider this: Evidence is the foundations of proof. So, enough evidence creates proof. However, how much evidence is needed to make proof depends on the concerning persons' circumstances, ...
0
votes
4answers
542 views

What can suffice as a scientific proof for God? to what domain can such a proof belong to? [closed]

"Scientific" theories require proof, and there are certain guidelines and standards for the proofs to be acceptable to the "scientific" community in that domain (Algebra, Computer Science, etc.). ...
0
votes
2answers
224 views

Language proof and logic Chapter 15 question 16 help

I'm trying to go about solving this problem but I'm having problems even knowing how to approach it. Can someone help me to set it up? Here is the premise: ∀x∀y(x ⊆ y ↔️ ∀z(z ∈ x ⟶ z ∈ y) Here is ...
5
votes
1answer
313 views

Does anyone have a proof checker they prefer using for modal logic?

I am looking for a proof checker for modal logic using natural deduction or sequent calculus. I am trying to learn Isabelle, but I think there should be a simpler solution. Although I can rely on ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Are axioms tautologies?

My understanding is that axioms are the unprovable statements upon which systems are built. Tautologies are in essence things that can't be false. Godel's Incompleteness Theorem, though, shows that ...
2
votes
5answers
195 views

Can any correct logical reasoning in natural language sentences be translated into a formal mathematical proof?

Since natural languages (e.g. English) are prone to ambiguities and misunderstandings due to their constant evolving nature and lack of rigorous formalization, and given an arbitrary philosopher X who ...
2
votes
6answers
776 views

Is logic built on assumptions?

I'm sorry if this sounds like a stupid question, but how can we know that our logical approach to ideas is not in itself based on assumptions. For example, how can we know that the workings of the ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Are there rules for dealing with self-reference “paradoxes” in logic?

My favorite paradox that leads to an endless regress, and also leads to a question: The sentence after this is true. The sentence before this is false. When contradictions appear in proofs, ...
9
votes
6answers
799 views

Claims that we know (virtually) nothing - can they be refuted?

Here's an argument that I've heard a number of times from friends and on the Internet: "The ratio of what we know about the universe to what we have yet to discover is so small - it is therefore ...
5
votes
2answers
365 views

What is the difference between everyday realism and metaphysical realism?

At an everyday level, we seem to subscribe to a from of strong realism which doesn't leave any room for skepticism. We are certain that individuals who hear voices in their heads or who have ...
6
votes
1answer
8k views

The difference between argument, inference, deduction and proof?

I am trying to distinguish argument, inference, deduction and proof. First, let's look at the distinction between argument and inference (if there is one). This online source states: An argument ...
4
votes
1answer
177 views

Is it provable that epistemically possible (possible for all I know) does not imply possible?

Here is an argument that it is not. Let's start with some equivalences: X is epistemically possible iff X is possible for all I know iff not (X is impossible given what I know) iff X is not ...
4
votes
2answers
88 views

help with deductive proof

∀x (Fx ∨ x=c), ¬Fb ∧ Gb |- ¬Fa → Ga So far I don't understand how to switch variables around to prove the result. I've got a subproof set up assuming "¬Fa" in order to derive "Ga". In that proof I ...
3
votes
2answers
673 views

What's the difference (if any) between demonstration and description?

How do philosophers of various schools* explain the difference (if any) between demonstration and mere description? Are they synonymous, or are they different? How so? My first impressions: To ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How to discharge an assumption?

I am proving the follow argument [(A ↔ B ) → C] ⊢ [ - ( A ^ B) V C ] Using the following set of rules I, ^E, vI, vE, →I, →E, ↔I, ↔E, --E, -I Here are my steps but I got to the point where I ...
2
votes
1answer
110 views

Are analogical middle terms sufficient for a valid demonstration?

William A. Wallace, O.P., in “Thomism and the Quantum Enigma,” The Thomist 61 (1997): 455–468, claims that analogical middle terms are sufficient for a valid demonstration and that this is a ...
2
votes
1answer
604 views

prove: ∃x ∃y (Cube(x) ∧ Cube(y) ∧ x ≠ y ∧ ∀z (Cube(z) → (z = x ∨ z = y)))

I need a formal (Fitch) first order logic proof for: ∃x ∃y (P(x) ∧ P(y) ∧ x ≠ y ∧ ∀z (P(z) → (z = x ∨ z = y))) Given ∃x ∃y (P(x) ∧ P(y) ∧ x ≠ y) ∀x ∀y ∀z ((P(x) ∧ P(y) ∧ P(z)) → (x = y ∨ x = z ∨...
1
vote
2answers
645 views

How to check if this proof is valid?

I'm having some doubt if this proof is valid or invalid, especially regarding the line 4 derived from line 2. Do I need to change the letter in there? 1. (z)~Fz ∴ ~(z)Fz Using Indirect proof ...
-2
votes
1answer
352 views

If there is anything that could behave like a god, is it then a real god? [closed]

Let's assume that the our universe's physics allows time travel. This is my main assumption! Let's further assume that there is an quite intelligent, invulnerable being, that found a way to achieve ...
-3
votes
1answer
74 views

Fitch Arrow Proofs [closed]

Using the FITCH program and the FITCH derivation rules you should make a proof or derivation of C10 from P5 through P11. P5: ∀x∀y(StrongPref(x,y)→ ¬StrongPref(y,x)) P6: ∀x∀y∀z((StrongPref(x,y)∧...