Values and norms of proof for mathematicians and students

Paul Christian Dawkins, Keith Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


In this theoretical paper, we present a framework for conceptualizing proof in terms of mathematical values, as well as the norms that uphold those values. In particular, proofs adhere to the values of establishing a priori truth, employing decontextualized reasoning, increasing mathematical understanding, and maintaining consistent standards for acceptable reasoning across domains. We further argue that students’ acceptance of these values may be integral to their apprenticeship into proving practice; students who do not perceive or accept these values will likely have difficulty adhering to the norms that uphold them and hence will find proof confusing and problematic. We discuss the implications of mathematical values and norms with respect to proof for investigating mathematical practice, conducting research in mathematics education, and teaching proof in mathematics classrooms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-142
Number of pages20
JournalEducational Studies in Mathematics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Education


  • Mathematical culture
  • Norms
  • Proof
  • Values


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