There’s No Such Thing As A Private Discovery

The search for truth is always a collective effort

Portrait of a Scholar, by Domenico Fetti (wikimedia commons)

Mathematics claims to be a deductive science. Unlike the empirical sciences, whose conclusions are only ever tentative, once a mathematical theorem is proved, it is proved for all time. But what does it mean to “prove” a theorem? Presumably it means proceeding in logical steps from a set of premises to a…

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