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This report is a first attempt of formalizing the diagonalization proof technique.We give a strategy how to systematically construct diagonalization proofs: (i) findingan indexing relation, (ii) constructing a diagonal element, and (iii) making the implicitcontradiction of the diagonal element explicit. We suggest a declarative representationof the strategy and describe how it can be realized in a proof planning environment.

We present an empirical study of mathematical proofs by diagonalization, the aim istheir mechanization based on proof planning techniques. We show that these proofs canbe constructed according to a strategy that (i) finds an indexing relation, (ii) constructsa diagonal element, and (iii) makes the implicit contradiction of the diagonal elementexplicit. Moreover we suggest how diagonal elements can be represented.

The reasoning power of human-oriented plan-based reasoning systems is primarilyderived from their domain-specific problem solving knowledge. Such knowledge is, how-ever, intrinsically incomplete. In order to model the human ability of adapting existingmethods to new situations we present in this work a declarative approach for represent-ing methods, which can be adapted by so-called meta-methods. Since apparently thesuccess of this approach relies on the existence of general and strong meta-methods,we describe several meta-methods of general interest in detail by presenting the prob-lem solving process of two familiar classes of mathematical problems. These examplesshould illustrate our philosophy of proof planning as well: besides planning with thecurrent repertoire of methods, the repertoire of methods evolves with experience inthat new ones are created by meta-methods which modify existing ones.