On Examples, Counterexamples, and Proof by Example
AbstractThis note is motivated by two seemingly unrelated items that have recently appeared in the Pi Mu Epsilon Journal (http://www.wpi.edu/~pme/journal.html). In one, the editor of the Journal wrote of "mathematical cranks" and how frustratingly difficult it can be sometimes to get would-be "circle-squarers" and "angle- trisectors" to see the errors in their "proofs." The first part of this paper illustrates--by way of example!--how futile is a "proof" that is attempted with one or more examples. The second part of the paper follows up on a recent article in the PME Journal, "How Economists Use Mathematics to Show Why Some People Work So Much For So Little," and shows that the author's result is a consequence of the special characteristics of the Cobb-Douglas utility function.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series General Economics and Teaching with number 9607001.
Date of creation: 12 Jul 1996
Date of revision:
Note: Type of Document - Tex; prepared on IBM PC; to print on HP;
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://18.104.22.168
Proving theorems; special cases; Pi Mu Epsilon Journal;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- A - General Economics and Teaching
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.