Living in harmony: Nominalism and the explanationist argument for realism

Abstract
According to the indispensability argument, scientific realists ought to believe in the existence of mathematical entities, due to their indispensable role in theorising. Arguably the crucial sense of indispensability can be understood in terms of the contribution that mathematics sometimes makes to the super-empirical virtues of a theory. Moreover, the way in which the scientific realist values such virtues, in general, and draws on explanatory virtues, in particular, ought to make the realist ontologically committed to abstracta. This paper shows that this version of the indispensability argument glosses over crucial detail about how the scientific realist attempts to generate justificatory commitment to unobservables. The kind of role that the Platonist attributes to mathematics in scientific reasoning is compatible with nominalism, as far as scientific realist arguments are concerned.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,088
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Alan Baker (2009). Mathematical Explanation in Science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):611-633.
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

41 ( #44,906 of 1,101,944 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #21,892 of 1,101,944 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.