Mathematical explanations of the rainbow

Explanations of three different aspects of the rainbow are considered. The highly mathematical character of these explanations poses some interpretative questions concerning what the success of these explanations tells us about rainbows. I develop a proposal according to which mathematical explanations can highlight what is relevant about a given phenomenon while also indicating what is irrelevant to that phenomenon. This proposal is related to the extensive work by Batterman on asymptotic explanation with special reference to Batterman’s own discussion of the rainbow.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsb.2010.11.003
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References found in 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.
Gordon Belot (2005). Whose Devil? Which Details? Philosophy of Science 72 (1):128-153.

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