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How to Think Like a Mathematician by Kevin Houston

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CHAPTER 16

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How to read a theorem

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The first precept was never to accept a thing as true until I knew it as such without a single doubt.

René Descartes, Le Discours de la Méthode, 1637

Theorems and proofs are central to mathematics. In this chapter I will explain how to deal with a new theorem; consideration of proofs will come later.

As explained earlier, students often conceive of mathematics as being about processes applied to solve set problems, such as using a certain rule to differentiate a product or quotient, or solving a differential equation ...

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