, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 453-468,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 06 May 2008

Strategic Maneuvering in Mathematical Proofs


This paper explores applications of concepts from argumentation theory to mathematical proofs. Note is taken of the various contexts in which proofs occur and of the various objectives they may serve. Examples of strategic maneuvering are discussed when surveying, in proofs, the four stages of argumentation distinguished by pragma-dialectics. Derailments of strategies (fallacies) are seen to encompass more than logical fallacies and to occur both in alleged proofs that are completely out of bounds and in alleged proofs that are at least mathematical arguments. These considerations lead to a dialectical and rhetorical view of proofs.