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mpweiher · 2022-11-19 · Original thread
The proof is not a social construct.

The truth is.

The proof is a mechanism to reach that consensus, by convincing other mathematicians of a specific truth. That is all it is.

There is a naive idea that a proof is a purely mechanical series of steps that provides access to truth. Last I checked, this isn't so for the vast majority of proofs in math. Such a proof would be way too tedious to construct or check by mathematicians. And if it isn't checkable, how do we know it is actually true?

Automated proofs are a subfield, and (again, last I checked) controversial because they can often not be checked by humans.

So for example, if the proof doesn't convince other mathematicians, then it's not a a proof.

Or it might convince other mathematicians and later turn out to be wrong after all.

For more on the practical aspects of math, I highly recommend The Mathematical Experience.

I read it in German:

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