Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):559 - 578 (2012)
|Abstract||A main thread of the debate over mathematical realism has come down to whether mathematics does explanatory work of its own in some of our best scientific explanations of empirical facts. Realists argue that it does; anti-realists argue that it doesn't. Part of this debate depends on how mathematics might be able to do explanatory work in an explanation. Everyone agrees that it's not enough that there merely be some mathematics in the explanation. Anti-realists claim there is nothing mathematics can do to make an explanation mathematical; realists think something can be done, but they are not clear about what that something is. I argue that many of the examples of mathematical explanations of empirical facts in the literature can be accounted for in terms of Jackson and Pettit's  notion of program explanation, and that mathematical realists can use the notion of program explanation to support their realism. This is exactly what has happened in a recent thread of the debate over moral realism (in this journal). I explain how the two debates are analogous and how moves that have been made in the moral realism debate can be made in the mathematical realism debate. However, I conclude that one can be a mathematical realist without having to be a moral realist|
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Davide Rizza (2011). Magicicada, Mathematical Explanation and Mathematical Realism. Erkenntnis 74 (1):101-114.
Juha Saatsi (2012). Mathematics and Program Explanations. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):579-584.
M. Lange (2010). What Are Mathematical Coincidences (and Why Does It Matter)? Mind 119 (474):307-340.
Jacob Busch (2011). Scientific Realism and the Indispensability Argument for Mathematical Realism: A Marriage Made in Hell. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (4):307-325.
Pieranna Garavaso (1992). The Argument From Agreement and Mathematical Realism. Journal of Philosophical Research 17:173-187.
Alan Baker (2009). Mathematical Explanation in Science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):611-633.
Sorin Ioan Bangu (2008). Inference to the Best Explanation and Mathematical Realism. Synthese 160 (1):13-20.
Alan Baker (2005). Are There Genuine Mathematical Explanations of Physical Phenomena? Mind 114 (454):223-238.
Susan Vineberg (1996). Confirmation and the Indispensability of Mathematics to Science. Philosophy of Science 63 (3):263.
M. Lange (2013). What Makes a Scientific Explanation Distinctively Mathematical? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (3):485-511.
Mary Leng (2005). Platonism and Anti-Platonism: Why Worry? International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (1):65 – 84.
Added to index2011-08-26
Total downloads28 ( #49,809 of 722,815 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #60,541 of 722,815 )
How can I increase my downloads?