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A Vindication of Program Verification

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Fetzer famously claims that program verification is not even a theoretical possibility, and offers a certain argument for this far-reaching claim. Unfortunately for Fetzer, and like-minded thinkers, this position-argument pair, while based on a seminal insight that program verification, despite its Platonic proof-theoretic airs, is plagued by the inevitable unreliability of messy, real-world causation, is demonstrably self-refuting. As I soon show, Fetzer (and indeed anyone else who provides an argument- or proof-based attack on program verification) is like the person who claims: ‘My sole claim is that every claim expressed by an English sentence and starting with the phrase “My sole claim” is false’. Or, more accurately, such thinkers are like the person who claims that modus tollens is invalid, and supports this claim by giving an argument that itself employs this rule of inference.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), USA

Publication date: July 3, 2015

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