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Abstract
Mathematicians appear to have quite high standards for when they will rely on testimony. Many mathematicians require that a number of experts testify that they have checked the proof of a result p before they will rely on p in their own proofs without checking the proof of p. We examine why this is. We argue that for each expert who testifies that she has checked the proof of p and found no errors, the likelihood that the proof contains no substantial errors increases because different experts will validate the proof in different ways depending on their background knowledge and individual preferences. If this is correct, there is much to be gained for a mathematician from requiring that a number of experts have checked the proof of p before she will rely on p in her own proofs without checking the proof of p. In this way a mathematician can protect her own work and the work of others from errors. Our argument thus provides an explanation for mathematicians’ attitude towards relying on testimony.
Original language  English 

Journal  Synthese 
Volume  199 
Issue  12 
Pages (fromto)  859870 
Number of pages  12 
ISSN  00397857 
DOIs  
Publication status  Published  Dec 2021 
Event  Virtue Epistemology of Mathematical Practice  Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium Duration: 13 Jul 2018 → 14 Jul 2018 
Workshop
Workshop  Virtue Epistemology of Mathematical Practice 

Location  Vrije Universiteit Brussel 
Country/Territory  Belgium 
City  Brussels 
Period  13/07/2018 → 14/07/2018 
Keywords
 Epistemic dependence
 Mathematical practice
 Mathematics
 Testimony
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Dive into the research topics of 'The Role of Testimony in Mathematics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.Projects
 1 Finished

The Epistemological Dimensions of Scientific Publication
Wray, K. B. & Andersen, L. E.
01/02/2018 → 01/01/2021
Project: Research