Handout #13
CS103A
January 25, 2008
Robert Plummer
Proof Strategies
Where To Start?
•
As you begin a proof, convince yourself that the conclusion is indeed true by
studying the premises and understanding their meaning:
•
Analyze the structure of each premise and the conclusion—this may give you a
clue about how to proceed.
•
Make sure you understand all the terms and operations used in the premises and
conclusion—get your definitions ready.
Replace terms with their definitions to
get clues on how to proceed.
(This will be important when we are doing math
proofs.)
•
We typically prove general conclusions about a set of objects.
One way to
understand what is to be proved is by proving the conclusion for a particular
element of the set.
Convince yourself that the conclusion is true for this element
(and if you find that it is not, you have just disproved the conclusion).
This will
often give you insight into how to do the general proof.
For the kinds of proofs
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 Winter '07
 Plummer,R
 Computer Science, Scientific evidence, Legal burden of proof, Robert Plummer

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