, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 23-41
Date: 05 Apr 2007

How can the relationship between argumentation and proof be analysed?

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Abstract

The paper presents a characterisation about argumentation and proof in mathematics. On the basis of contemporary linguistic theories, the hypothesis that proof is a special case of argumentation is put forward and Toulmin’s model is proposed as a methodological tool to compare them. This model can be used to detect and analyse the structure of an argumentation supporting a conjecture (abduction, induction, etc.) and the structure of its proof. The aim of the paper is to highlight the importance of structural analysis between argumentation and proof. This analysis shows that although there are clear cases of continuity between argumentation supporting a conjecture and its proof, there is often a structural distance between the two (from an abductive argumentation to a deductive proof, from an inductive argumentation to a mathematical inductive proof).