Imre Lakatos 1922 - 1974

Timeline created by ZaktanDragon
  • Birth and Early Life

    Birth and Early Life
    Lakatos was originally born as Imre Lipschitz to a Hungarian Jewish family on November 9th, 1922. During WWII, Imre changed his last named to Molnár to avoid persecution at the hands of the Nazis. Later on his name was once again changed to Imre Lakatos. Lakatos became staunchly communist in his earlier days, and was a member of several revolutionary cells throughout time. After helping to establish a communist government, Lakatos himself was targeted and imprisoned for 3 years in a gulag.
  • The British Years

    The British Years
    After earning his freedom again in 1953, Lakatos began his academic work once again while also acting as a secret informant for the Hungarian government. Later, when the Soviet Union invaded Hungary in 1956, Lakatos fled first for Vienna, Austria, then for England, where he earned a doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge in 1961. His doctoral thesis was titled "Essays in the Logic of Mathematical Discovery," where he discussed the Cartesian formula V - E + F = 2 .
  • Proofs and Refutations

    Proofs and Refutations
    Lakatos argued against formalism, intuitionism, and logicism in the field of mathematics in this famous and influential work, offering while a mathematical formula or theorem may hold true, it cannot be proven true, and only remains accepted until a counter-example can falsify it. Lakatos instead focuses on how one arrives at these proofs from informal ideas and conjectures. To Lakatos, the process of arriving at these conclusions was equally important as the conclusions themselves.
  • Lakatosian Proofs

    Lakatosian Proofs
    Lakatos argued that mathematical proofs were competing against one another, a stance against the formalist position which holds that all mathematical proofs, as they are formally valid, must be valid. Lakatos's work became very influential in the field of mathematics despite still drawing flak from many people dissatisfied with his arguments against the formality of proofs. Lakatos's stance mirrors much of the stances taken in science, that proofs only hold until counterexamples appear.
  • Works Cited

    “Imre Lakatos.” New World Encyclopedia, Lakatos, Imre. Proofs and Refutations: the Logic of Math. Discovery. Ed. by John Worrall and Elie Zahar. Cambridge Univ. Pr., 1976. Musgrave, Alan, and Charles Pigden. “Imre Lakatos.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, 4 Apr. 2016,