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Alan Baker [22]Alan Rh Baker [1]
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Profile: Alan Baker (Swarthmore College)
  1. Alan Baker, Indispensibility and the Multiple Reducibility of Mathematical Objects.
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  2. Alan Baker (2013). Complexity, Networks, and Non-Uniqueness. Foundations of Science 18 (4):687-705.
    The aim of the paper is to introduce some of the history and key concepts of network science to a philosophical audience, and to highlight a crucial—and often problematic—presumption that underlies the network approach to complex systems. Network scientists often talk of “the structure” of a given complex system or phenomenon, which encourages the view that there is a unique and privileged structure inherent to the system, and that the aim of a network model is to delineate this structure. I (...)
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  3. Alan Rh Baker (2012). Robert Arthur Donkin 1928-2006. Proceedings of the British Academy 172:115.
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  4. Christopher Pincock, Alan Baker, Alexander Paseau & Mary Leng (2012). Science and Mathematics: The Scope and Limits of Mathematical Fictionalism. [REVIEW] Metascience 21 (2):269-294.
    Science and mathematics: the scope and limits of mathematical fictionalism Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 1-26 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9640-3 Authors Christopher Pincock, University of Missouri, 438 Strickland Hall, Columbia, MO 65211-4160, USA Alan Baker, Department of Philosophy, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA 19081, USA Alexander Paseau, Wadham College, Oxford, OX1 3PN UK Mary Leng, Department of Philosophy, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
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  5. Alan Baker & Mark Colyvan (2011). Indexing and Mathematical Explanation. Philosophia Mathematica 19 (3):323-334.
    We discuss a recent attempt by Chris Daly and Simon Langford to do away with mathematical explanations of physical phenomena. Daly and Langford suggest that mathematics merely indexes parts of the physical world, and on this understanding of the role of mathematics in science, there is no need to countenance mathematical explanation of physical facts. We argue that their strategy is at best a sketch and only looks plausible in simple cases. We also draw attention to how frequently Daly and (...)
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  6. Alan Baker (2010). A Medley of Philosophy of Mathematics. Metascience 19 (2):221-224.
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  7. Alan Baker, Non-Deductive Methods in Mathematics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  8. Alan Baker (2010). No Reservations Required? Defending Anti-Nominalism. Studia Logica 96 (2):127-139.
    In a 2005 paper, John Burgess and Gideon Rosen offer a new argument against nominalism in the philosophy of mathematics. The argument proceeds from the thesis that mathematics is part of science, and that core existence theorems in mathematics are both accepted by mathematicians and acceptable by mathematical standards. David Liggins (2007) criticizes the argument on the grounds that no adequate interpretation of “acceptable by mathematical standards” can be given which preserves the soundness of the overall argument. In this discussion (...)
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  9. Alan Baker (2009). Mathematical Explanation in Science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):611-633.
    Does mathematics ever play an explanatory role in science? If so then this opens the way for scientific realists to argue for the existence of mathematical entities using inference to the best explanation. Elsewhere I have argued, using a case study involving the prime-numbered life cycles of periodical cicadas, that there are examples of indispensable mathematical explanations of purely physical phenomena. In this paper I respond to objections to this claim that have been made by various philosophers, and I discuss (...)
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  10. Alan Baker (2008). Complexity Unfavoured. Analysis 68 (297):85–88.
  11. Alan Baker (2008). Experimental Mathematics. Erkenntnis 68 (3):331 - 344.
    The rise of the field of “<span class='Hi'>experimental</span> mathematics” poses an apparent challenge to traditional philosophical accounts of mathematics as an a priori, non-empirical endeavor. This paper surveys different attempts to characterize <span class='Hi'>experimental</span> mathematics. One suggestion is that <span class='Hi'>experimental</span> mathematics makes essential use of electronic computers. A second suggestion is that <span class='Hi'>experimental</span> mathematics involves support being gathered for an hypothesis which is inductive rather than deductive. Each of these options turns out to be inadequate, and instead a (...)
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  12. Alan Baker, Simplicity. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  13. Alan Baker (2007). Drinking Discretely: Parsons's Old Peculiar. Analysis 67 (296):318–321.
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  14. Alan Baker (2007). Is There a Problem of Induction for Mathematics? In M. Potter (ed.), Mathematical Knowledge. Oxford University Press. 57-71.
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  15. Alan Baker (2007). Putting Expectations in Order. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):692-700.
    In their paper, “Vexing Expectations,” Nover and Hájek (2004) present an allegedly paradoxical betting scenario which they call the Pasadena Game (PG). They argue that the silence of standard decision theory concerning the value of playing PG poses a serious problem. This paper provides a threefold response. First, I argue that the real problem is not that decision theory is “silent” concerning PG, but that it delivers multiple conflicting verdicts. Second, I offer a diagnosis of the problem based on the (...)
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  16. Alan Baker (2006). Book Review: Charles S. Chihara. A Structural Account of Mathematics. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 47 (3):435-442.
  17. Alan Baker (2005). Are There Genuine Mathematical Explanations of Physical Phenomena? Mind 114 (454):223-238.
    Many explanations in science make use of mathematics. But are there cases where the mathematical component of a scientific explanation is explanatory in its own right? This issue of mathematical explanations in science has been for the most part neglected. I argue that there are genuine mathematical explanations in science, and present in some detail an example of such an explanation, taken from evolutionary biology, involving periodical cicadas. I also indicate how the answer to my title question impacts on broader (...)
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  18. Alan Baker (2005). Malebranche's Occasionalism. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 79 (2):251-272.
    The core thesis of Malebranche’s doctrine of occasionalism is that God is the sole true cause, where a true cause is one that has the power to initiate change and for which the mind perceives a necessary connection between it and its effects. Malebranche gives two separate arguments for his core thesis, T, based on necessary connection and on divine power respectively. The standard view is that these two arguments are necessary to establish T. I argue for a reinterpretation of (...)
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  19. Alan Baker (2003). Quantitative Parsimony and Explanatory Power. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):245-259.
    The desire to minimize the number of individual new entities postulated is often referred to as quantitative parsimony. Its influence on the default hypotheses formulated by scientists seems undeniable. I argue that there is a wide class of cases for which the preference for quantitatively parsimonious hypotheses is demonstrably rational. The justification, in a nutshell, is that such hypotheses have greater explanatory power than less parsimonious alternatives. My analysis is restricted to a class of cases I shall refer to as (...)
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  20. Alan Baker (2003). The Indispensability Argument and Multiple Foundations for Mathematics. Philosophical Quarterly 53 (210):49–67.
    One recent trend in the philosophy of mathematics has been to approach the central epistemological and metaphysical issues concerning mathematics from the perspective of the applications of mathematics to describing the world, especially within the context of empirical science. A second area of activity is where philosophy of mathematics intersects with foundational issues in mathematics, including debates over the choice of set-theoretic axioms, and over whether category theory, for example, may provide an alternative foundation for mathematics. My central claim is (...)
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  21. Alan Baker (2002). The Foundations of Mathematics in the Theory of Sets. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (4):533-534.
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  22. Alan Baker (2001). Mathematics, Indispensability and Scientific Progress. Erkenntnis 55 (1):85-116.
  23. Alan Baker (1999). Are the Laws of Nature Deductively Closed? In H. Sankey (ed.), Causation and Laws of Nature. Kluwer Academic Press. 91--109.
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