How to Read and do Proofs by Daniel Solow

By Daniel Solow

This simple consultant describes the most equipment used to end up mathematical theorems. exhibits how and while to exploit each one strategy akin to the contrapositive, induction and facts via contradiction. every one procedure is illustrated via step by step examples. the second one version good points new chapters on nested quantifiers and evidence by way of situations, and the variety of workouts has been doubled with solutions to odd-numbered workouts supplied. this article will be beneficial as a complement in arithmetic and good judgment classes.

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Extra resources for How to Read and do Proofs

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Adopting this philosophy we would perhaps think of the class of provable statements dynamically as a growing tree of results, but not as a completed infinite tree. 2. The class of all grammatically correct sentences is somewhat similar to the case above, but the rules of grammar are not the clear cut exact rules of logic. Nevertheless one can imagine generating ever longer grammatically correct sentences. This time, though, it is relatively easy to recognize a grammatically correct sentence. As for the class being infinite; it will include sentences of the form ‘The first five positive integers are: one, two, three, four, five’, and one can of course replace ‘five’ by an arbitrarily high number.

The sequence of triangular numbers 1, 3, 6, 10, . . is a fairly innocent example, but like all simple examples one can use it as a creative launch pad, ask some novel questions, and before long formulate some non-trivial conjectures. Such investigations famously led Carl Friedrich Gauss to write in his diary in 1796 ‘EYPHKA! num= ∆+∆+∆’. This was a reference to his discovery that every natural number is expressible as the sum of at most three triangular numbers. Earlier, in 1770, Joseph Louis Lagrange had proved the analogous and much more well-known result that every natural number is expressible as the sum of at most four squares.

2 Natural numbers 19 introduced shortly) are at least √ interpretable as a magnitude of some sort, or as a directed length, whereas −1 seemed, at first, to come from another realm entirely. The comparable modern difficulties with infinite sets might be said to have been similarly tamed by Formalist logic. To return to our comments at the beginning of this section, carefully avoiding an infinite regress of definitions, the primitive elements of the theory to be described herein are the notions of set and membership.

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