David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Philosophy 86 (9):449-480 (1989)
The first part of the essay describes how mathematics, in particular mathematical concepts, are applicable to nature. mathematical constructs have turned out to correspond to physical reality. this correlation between the world and mathematical concepts, it is argued, is a true phenomenon. the second part of this essay argues that the applicability of mathematics to nature is mysterious, in that not only is there no known explanation for the correlation between mathematics and physical reality, but there is a good reason to except no such correlation. it is argued that there is a subjective element in the decision as to what constitutes a mathematical concept. a number of purported solutions to the mystery of the applicability of mathematics to nature are discarded, until we are left with eugene wigner's thesis that we are here confronted with a "miracle that we neither understand nor deserve."
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Citations of this work BETA
Sorin Bangu (2009). Wigner's Puzzle for Mathematical Naturalism. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):245-263.
James Franklin (1994). The Formal Sciences Discover the Philosophers' Stone. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 25 (4):513-533.
Axel Gelfert (2009). Rigorous Results, Cross-Model Justification, and the Transfer of Empirical Warrant: The Case of Many-Body Models in Physics. Synthese 169 (3):497 - 519.
Martin H. Krieger (1991). Theorems as Meaningful Cultural Artifacts: Making the World Additive. Synthese 88 (2):135 - 154.
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