In 1961, Dijkstra made an analogy between mathematical proofs and computer programs. After noting the analogy, he took aspects from the field of mathematics and projected them onto his own profession of programming.
Twenty years later, Dijkstra still stood by the analogy. This time, however, he projected the lessons he had learned from programming methodology back onto mathematics. Dijkstra was thus, in 1981, keen on defining a mathematical methodology. In Dijkstra's words:
I am relying on the analogy between programs and proofs, an analogy which is the inspiration behind my effort to transfer what programming methodology has taught us to mathematical methodology in general.
To further clarify his research agenda, Dijkstra distantiated himself from dominant traditions in logic, philosophy, and mathematics. Dijkstra was not interested in formalisms for the sake of capturing the foundations of mathematics. Instead, he only wanted to use formal methods if they could help pragmatically; that is, if they could help in conducting mathematics itself.
Dijkstra knew that his unorthodox research agenda would be countered by dominant voices. He therefore stressed from the start that he did not expect others to share his interests.
We are not prescribing the law to anybody, we are not even attempting to propose something, but have rules for ourselves.
Source: the first few pages of EWD 803.