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Epistemology & Philosophy of Science

Volume 55, Issue 4, 2018

Vladislav A. Shaposhnikov
Pages 160-173
DOI: 10.5840/eps201855474

Distributed Cognition and Mathematical Practice in the Digital Society: from Formalized Proofs to Revisited Foundations

This paper attempts to look at the contemporary mathematical practice through the lenses of the distributed cognition approach. The ubiquitous use of personal computers and the internet as a key attribute of the digital society is interpreted here as a means to achieve a more effective distribution of the human cognitive activity. The major challenge that determines the transformation of mathematical practice is identified as ‘the problem of complexity’. The computer-assisted complete formalization of mathematical proofs as a current tendency is viewed as one of the strands along which the mathematical community responds to the challenge. It is shown that this tendency gives live to the project calling to revisit and rebuild the very foundations of mathematics to secure more effective communication and thus guarantee the reliability of contemporary mathematics.

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