Lakatos' essays were published posthumously in in two volumes edited by former students. Proofs and Refutations is published separately. His interest philosophy of science focused on the growth, degeneration and criticism of scientific research programs. Lakatos rewrites the histories of many famous scientific episodes in terms of their persistent anomalies or contradictions, and the hindsight needed to interpret what just what had been learned.


Still a philosophical classic for the ideas of Kuhn, Popper, Feyerabend and Lakatos. The papers were based on a conference on Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions organized by Lakatos at Bedford College (London) in 1965.

 

Proofs and Refutations is written as a dialogue involving 18 characters named Alpha, Beta, et al., plus a Teacher. The footnotes document the actual history of mathematics discussed in the reconstructed dialogue on Euler's theorem, which states that for any polyhedron, the number of vertices minus the number of edges plus the number of faces is 2: V-E+F=2. The content ranges from high-school geometry to advanced ideas of modern mathematics. Lakatos' philosophical achievement was to explain the historical origins of modern mathematical proof using historiographic and pedagogical ideas found in Hegel's modern classic The Phenomenology of Spirit.