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Good Math by Mark C. Chu-Carroll

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13Proofs, Truth, and Trees: Oh My!

The point of logic is to make it possible to prove things. What is a proof? In math, it’s a sequence of logical inferences that show how a new fact, called a conclusion, can be derived from a set of known facts, called premises.

Proofs tend to scare people. I can still remember being a sophomore in high school and being introduced to proofs in my geometry class. It was by far the worst experience I’d ever had in a math class! I’d try to work out a proof in my homework; and when the teacher handed it back, it would be covered in red ink, with every other line marked “doesn’t follow,” or “missing case.” I just couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to be doing.

A lot of people have had pretty much the same ...

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