David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 72 (1):128-153 (2005)
Batterman has recently argued that fundamental theories are typically explanatorily inadequate, in that there exist physical phenomena whose explanation requires that the conceptual apparatus of a fundamental theory be supplemented by that of a less fundamental theory. This paper is an extended critical commentary on that argument: situating its importance, describing its structure, and developing a line of objection to it. The objection is that in the examples Batterman considers, the mathematics of the less fundamental theory is definable in terms of the mathematics of the fundamental theory and that only the latter need be given a physical interpretation---so we can view the desired explanation as drawing only upon resources internal to the more fundamental physical theory. (The paper also includes an appendix surveying some recent results on quantum chaos.).
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Citations of this work BETA
Robert Batterman (2010). On the Explanatory Role of Mathematics in Empirical Science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):1-25.
Andrew Wayne & Michal Arciszewski (2009). Emergence in Physics. Philosophy Compass 4 (5):846-858.
Sebastian Lutz (2012). On a Straw Man in the Philosophy of Science: A Defense of the Received View. HOPOS 2 (1):77–120.
John D. Norton (2012). Approximation and Idealization: Why the Difference Matters. Philosophy of Science 79 (2):207-232.
Christopher Pincock (2011). Mathematical Explanations of the Rainbow. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 42 (1):13-22.
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