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General Theory for Proofs

  1. Mar 30, 2005 #1
    I find proofs very difficult. What process would you go through before writing a proof? What do you do generally?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 31, 2005 #2

    HallsofIvy

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    There isn't any "general theory" or "general procedure"- you have to THINK!

    I would recommend the following- first write down the hypotheses (what you are "given") and the conclusion (what you are trying to prove). Now, write down the definitions of all technical words (Yes, I think it is a really good idea to WRITE them just to be sure you have the precise definition- often specific words of the definitions are used in proofs) and any formulas you can think of (or look up!) connecting any quantities given in the proof. NOW try to think of all the ways in which the hypotheses could be connected to the conclusion. Often it helps to look at a simplified version of the proof first- are there any special cases in which the proof is simpler? If so can you vary the proof so as to apply to the more general case?
     
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