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Lakatos remained at the London School of Economics until his sudden death in 1974, aged just 51.
The work of Lakatos was heavily influenced by Popper and by Pólya.
Lakatos was born Imre Lipschitz to a Jewish family in Debrecen, Hungary, in 1922.
He received a degree in mathematics, physics, and philosophy from the University of Debrecen in 1944.
More of Lakatos' activities in Hungary after World War II have recently become known.
After his release, Lakatos returned to academic life, doing mathematical research and translating George Pólya's How to Solve It into Hungarian.
Lakatos never obtained British citizenship, in effect remaining a stateless person.
In 1960, he was appointed to a position in the London School of Economics, where he wrote on the philosophy of mathematics and the philosophy of science.
This gives mathematics a somewhat experimental flavor. as well as having great philosophical and historical value, [this paper] was circulated in offprint form in enormous numbers." During his lifetime, Lakatos refused to publish the work as a book, since he intended to improve it. Worrall describes the work: The thesis of Proofs and Refutations is that the development of mathematics does not consist (as conventional philosophy of mathematics tells us it does) in the steady accumulation of eternal truths.
However, in 1976, two years after his death, the work did appear as a book, I. Mathematics develops, according to Lakatos, in a much more dramatic and exciting way—by a process of conjecture, followed by attempts to "prove" the conjecture (i.e. The effect of its polemical brilliance, its complexity of argument and self-conscious sophistication, its sheer weight of historical learning, is to dazzle the reader ("Introducing Imre Lakatos").