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This gives mathematics a somewhat experimental flavor. as well as having great philosophical and historical value, [this paper] was circulated in offprint form in enormous numbers." During his lifetime, Lakatos refused to publish the work as a book, since he intended to improve it. Worrall describes the work: The thesis of Proofs and Refutations is that the development of mathematics does not consist (as conventional philosophy of mathematics tells us it does) in the steady accumulation of eternal truths.However, in 1976, two years after his death, the work did appear as a book, I. Mathematics develops, according to Lakatos, in a much more dramatic and exciting way—by a process of conjecture, followed by attempts to "prove" the conjecture (i.e. The effect of its polemical brilliance, its complexity of argument and self-conscious sophistication, its sheer weight of historical learning, is to dazzle the reader ("Introducing Imre Lakatos").He avoided Nazi persecution of Jews by changing his name to Imre Molnár. During the Second World War he became an active communist.
His doctoral thesis, "Essays in the Logic of Mathematical Discovery," was submitted to Cambridge in 1961.
The theme of his thesis, done at the suggestion of Pólya, was the history of the Euler-Descartes formula V - E F = 2.
Still nominally a communist, his political views had shifted markedly and he was involved with at least one dissident student group in the lead-up to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
After the Soviet Union invaded Hungary in November 1956, Lakatos fled to Vienna, and later reached England.
The LSE philosophy of science department at that time included Karl Popper and John Watkins.
According to Ernst Gellner and others, Lakatos lectured on difficult and abstract subjects full of technicalities, but he did it in a way that was intelligible, fascinating, dramatic, and amusing, to a crowded lecture hall in an electric atmosphere, where gales of laughter would often erupt.
Lakatos was born Imre Lipschitz to a Jewish family in Debrecen, Hungary, in 1922.
He received a degree in mathematics, physics, and philosophy from the University of Debrecen in 1944.
Lakatos remained at the London School of Economics until his sudden death in 1974, aged just 51.
The work of Lakatos was heavily influenced by Popper and by Pólya.