The reasonable effectiveness of mathematics: Partial structures and the application of group theory to physics

Synthese 125 (1-2):103 - 120 (2000)
Wigner famously referred to the `unreasonable effectiveness' of mathematics in its application to science. Using Wigner's own application of group theory to nuclear physics, I hope to indicate that this effectiveness can be seen to be not so unreasonable if attention is paid to the various idealising moves undertaken. The overall framework for analysing this relationship between mathematics and physics is that of da Costa's partial structures programme.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
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DOI 10.2307/20117073
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