In his book 'Wittgenstein on the foundations of Mathematics', Crispin Wright notes that remarkably little has been done to provide an unpictorial, substantial account of what mathematical platoninism comes to. Wright proposes to investigate whether there is not some more substantial doctrine than the familiar images underpinning the platonist view. He begins with the suggestion that the essential element in the platonist claim is that mathematical truth is objective. Although he does not demarcate them as such, Wright proposes (...) several different tests for objectivity. The paper finds problems with each of these tests. (shrink)
Since Benacerraf’s “Mathematical Truth” a number of epistemological challenges have been launched against mathematicalplatonism. I first argue that these challenges fail because they unduely assimilate mathematics to empirical science. Then I develop an improved challenge which is immune to this criticism. Very roughly, what I demand is an account of how people’s mathematical beliefs are responsive to the truth of these beliefs. Finally I argue that if we employ a semantic truth-predicate rather than just a (...) deflationary one, there surprisingly turns out to be logical space for a response to the improved challenge where no such space appeared to exist. (shrink)
The expression 'platonism in mathematics' or 'mathematicalplatonism' is familiar in the philosophy of mathematics at least since the use Paul Bernays made of it in his paper of 1934, 'Sur le Platonisme dans les Mathématiques'. But he was not the first to point out the similarities between the conception of the defenders of mathematical realism and the ideas of Plato. Poincaré had already stressed the 'platonistic' orientation of the mathematicians he called'Cantorian', as opposed to those (...) who (like himself) were 'pragmatist' ones. I examine in this paper some very perplexing aspects of the use which is made at that time of a number of concepts, particularly 'idealism' (which generally designates what we would call 'mathematical realism') and 'empiricism' (which can designate almost any form of antirealism, even if, like for example intuitionism, it is not empiricist at all). There are, of course, historical reasons that may explain why it was for a time so easy and natural to use the words and the concepts in a way that may seem now very strange and to treat as if they were equivalent the two oppositions: realism/antirealism and idealism/empiricism. (shrink)
Glaucon in Plato's Republic fails to grasp intermediates. He confuses pursuing a goal with achieving it, and so he adopts ‘mathematicalplatonism’. He says mathematical objects are eternal. Socrates urges a seriously debatable, and seriously defensible, alternative centered on the destruction of hypotheses. He offers his version of geometry and astronomy as refuting the charge that he impiously ‘ponders things up in the sky and investigates things under the earth and makes the weaker argument the stronger’. We (...) relate his account briefly to mathematical developments by Plato's associates Theaetetus and Eudoxus, and then to the past 200 years' developments in geometry. (shrink)
In his Realism, Mathematics, and Modality, Hartry Field attempted to revitalize the epistemological case against mathematical platontism by challenging mathematical platonists to explain how we could be epistemically reliable with regard to the abstract objects of mathematics. Field suggested that the seeming impossibility of providing such an explanation tends to undermine belief in the existence of abstract mathematical objects regardless of whatever reason we have for believing in their existence. After more than two decades, Field’s explanatory challenge (...) remains among the best available motivations for mathematical nominalism. This paper argues that Field’s explanatory challenge misidentifies the central epistemological problem facing mathematicalplatonism. Contrary to Field’s suggestion, inexplicability of epistemic reliability does not act as an epistemic defeater. The failure to explain our epistemic reliability with respect to the existence and properties of abstract mathematical objects is simply one aspect of a broader failure to establish that we are epistemically reliable with respect to abstract mathematical objects in the first place. Ultimately, it is this broader failure that is the source of mathematicalplatonism’s real epistemological problems. (shrink)
The expression 'platonism in mathematics' or 'mathematicalplatonism' is familiar in the philosophy of mathematics at least since the use Paul Bernays made of it in his paper of 1934, 'Sur le Platonisme dans les Math?matiques'. But he was not the first to point out the similarities between the conception of the defenders of mathematical realism and the ideas of Plato. Poincar? had already stressed the 'platonistic' orientation of the mathematicians he called 'Cantorian', as opposed to (...) those who (like himself) were 'pragmatist' ones. I examine in this paper some very perplexing aspects of the use which is made at that time of a number of concepts, particularly 'idealism' (which generally designates what we would call 'mathematical realism') and 'empiricism' (which can designate almost any form of antirealism, even if, like for example intuitionism, it is not empiricist at all). There are, of course, historical reasons that may explain why it was for a time so easy and natural to use the words and the concepts in a way that may seem now very strange and to treat as if they were equivalent the two oppositions: realism/antirealism and idealism/empiricism. (shrink)
Platonism about mathematics (or mathematicalplatonism) is the metaphysical view that there are abstract mathematical objects whose existence is independent of us and our language, thought, and practices. In this survey article, the view is clarified and distinguished from some related views, and arguments for and against the view are discussed.
Mathematical explanation -- What is naturalism? -- Perception, practice, and ideal agents: Kitcher's naturalism -- Just metaphor?: Lakoff's language -- Seeing with the mind's eye: the Platonist alternative -- Semi-naturalists and reluctant realists -- A life of its own?: Maddy and mathematical autonomy.
Mathematics is about numbers, sets, functions, etc. and, according to one prominent view, these are abstract entities lacking causal powers and spatio-temporal location. If this is so, then it is a puzzle how we come to have knowledge of such remote entities. One suggestion is intuition. But `intuition' covers a range of notions. This paper identifies and examines those varieties of intuition which are most likely to play a role in the acquisition of our mathematical knowledge, and argues that (...) none of them, singly or in combination, can plausibly account for knowledge of abstract entities. (shrink)
In this paper, I challenge those interpretations of Frege that reinforce the view that his talk of grasping thoughts about abstract objects is consistent with Russell's notion of acquaintance with universals and with GÃ¶del's contention that we possess a faculty of mathematical perception capable of perceiving the objects of set theory. Here I argue the case that Frege is not an epistemological Platonist in the sense in which GÃ¶del is one. The contention advanced is that GÃ¶del bases his (...) class='Hi'>Platonism on a literal comparison between mathematical intuition and physical perception. He concludes that since we accept sense perception as a source of empirical knowledge, then we similarly should posit a faculty of mathematical intuition to serve as the source of mathematical knowledge. Unlike GÃ¶del, Frege does not posit a faculty of mathematical intuition. Frege talks instead about grasping thoughts about abstract objects. However, despite his hostility to metaphor, he uses the notion of âgraspingâ as a strategic metaphor to model his notion of thinking, i.e., to underscore that it is only by logically manipulating the cognitive content of mathematical propositions that we can obtain mathematical knowledge. Thus, he construes âgraspingâ more as theoretical activity than as a kind of inner mental âseeingâ. (shrink)
Baker (Mind 114:223–238, 2005; Brit J Philos Sci 60:611–633, 2009) has recently defended what he calls the “enhanced” version of the indispensability argument for mathematicalPlatonism. In this paper I demonstrate that the nominalist can respond to Baker’s argument. First, I outline Baker’s argument in more detail before providing a nominalistically acceptable paraphrase of prime-number talk. Second, I argue that, for the nominalist, mathematical language is used to express physical facts about the world. In endorsing this line (...) I follow moves made by Saatsi (Brit J Philos Sci 62(1):143–154, 2011). But, unlike Saatsi, I go on to argue that the nominalist requires a paraphrase of prime-number talk, for otherwise we lack an account of what that ‘physical fact’ is in the case of mathematics that seemingly makes reference to prime numbers. (shrink)
Two philosophical theories, mathematicalPlatonism and nominalism, are the background of six dialogues in this book. There are five characters in these dialogues: three are nominalists; the fourth is a Platonist; the main character is somewhat skeptical on most issues in the philosophy of mathematics, and is particularly skeptical regarding the two background theories.
De acuerdo con la así llamada concepción platonista de la naturaleza de las entidades matemáticas, las afirmaciones matemáticas son análogas a las afirmaciones acerca de objetos físicos reales y sus relaciones, con la diferencia decisiva de que las entidades matemáticas no son ni físicas ni espacio temporalmente individuales, y, por tanto, no son percibidas sensorialmente. El platonismo matemático es, por lo tanto, de la misma índole que el platonismo en general, el cual postula la tesis de un mundo ideal de (...) entidades –eídē– que a la vez están separadas (chōristón) y son el fundamento cognitivo y ontológico del mundo real de cosas físicas que poseen propiedades espacio-temporales. Mientras que la no-identidad entre la concepción platonista de las entidades matemáticas y el platonismo del Platón “histórico” es frecuentemente reconocida tácita o explícitamente tanto por sus defensores como por sus críticos, su conexión conla crítica del Aristóteles “histórico” a la filosofía de Platón frecuentemente no es reconocida. Este artículo llama la atención sobre la conexión de Aristóteles con el así llamado platonismo tradicionalmente concebido y reconstruye un aspecto crucial de su crítica a la tesis originaria del chōrismós platónico que se pierde de vista a menos que se reconozca el objetivo verdadero de su crítica, la descripción platónica igualmente originaria de los números eidéticos. --- “The Source of Platonism in the Philosophy of Mathematics Revisited: Aristotle’s Critique of Eidetic Numbers”. According to the so-called Platonistic conception of the nature of mathematical entities, mathematical statements are analogous to statements about real physical objects and their relations, with the one decisive difference that mathematical entities are neither physical nor individuated spatio-temporally and, thus, not perceived sensuously. MathematicalPlatonism is therefore of a piece with Platonism in general, which posits the thesis of an ideal world of entities –eídē– that are both separate (chōristón) from and the cognitive and ontological foundations of the real world of physical things possessing spatio-temporal properties. While the non-identity of the Platonistic conception of mathematical entities with the Platonism of the “historical” Plato is usually either tacitly or explicitly acknowledged by its defenders and critics alike, its connection with the “historical” Aristotle’s critique of Plato’s philosophy usually goes unacknowledged. This paper both calls attention to Aristotle’s connection with the so-called Platonism traditionally conceived and reconstructs a crucial aspect of his critique of the original Platonic chōrismós thesis, an aspect that is missed unless the true target of this critique, the equally original Platonic account of eidetic numbers, is recognized. (shrink)
In this book, Balaguer demonstrates that there are no good arguments for or against mathematicalplatonism. He does this by establishing that both platonism and anti-platonism are defensible views. Introducing a form of platonism ("full-blooded platonism") that solves all problems traditionally associated with the view, he proceeds to defend anti-platonism (in particular, mathematical fictionalism) against various attacks, most notably the Quine-Putnam indispensability attack. He concludes by arguing that it is not simply that (...) we do not currently have any good argument for or against platonism, but that we could never have such an argument and, indeed, that there is no fact of the matter as to whether platonism is correct. (shrink)
The literature on mathematics suggests that intuition plays a role in it as a ground of belief. This article explores the nature of intuition as it occurs in mathematical thinking. Section 1 suggests that intuitions should be understood by analogy with perceptions. Section 2 explains what fleshing out such an analogy requires. Section 3 discusses Kantian ways of fleshing it out. Section 4 discusses Platonist ways of fleshing it out. Section 5 sketches a proposal for resolving the main problem (...) facing Platonists—the problem of explaining how our experiences make contact with mathematical reality. (shrink)
A response is given here to Benacerraf's 1973 argument that mathematicalplatonism is incompatible with a naturalistic epistemology. Unlike almost all previous platonist responses to Benacerraf, the response given here is positive rather than negative; that is, rather than trying to find a problem with Benacerraf's argument, I accept his challenge and meet it head on by constructing an epistemology of abstract (i.e., aspatial and atemporal) mathematical objects. Thus, I show that spatio-temporal creatures like ourselves can attain (...) knowledge about mathematical objects by simply explaininghow they can do this. My argument is based upon the adoption of a particular version of platonism — full-blooded platonism — which asserts that any mathematical object which possiblycould exist actuallydoes exist. (shrink)
This paper considers two strategies for undermining indispensability arguments for mathematicalPlatonism. We defend one strategy (the Trivial Strategy) against a criticism by Joseph Melia. In particular, we argue that the key example Melia uses against the Trivial Strategy fails. We then criticize Melia’s chosen strategy (the Weaseling Strategy.) The Weaseling Strategy attempts to show that it is not always inconsistent or irrational knowingly to assert p and deny an implication of p . We argue that Melia’s case (...) for this strategy fails. (shrink)
In this paper the reader is asked to engage in some simple problem-solving in classical pure number theory and to then describe, on the basis of a series of questions, what it is like to solve the problems. In the recent philosophy of mind this “what is it like” question is one way of signaling a turn to phenomenological description. The description of what it is like to solve the problems in this paper, it is argued, leads to several morals (...) about the epistemology and ontology of classical pure mathematical practice. Instead of simply making philosophical judgments about the subject matter in advance, the exercise asks the reader to briefly engage in a mathematical practice and to then reflect on the practice. (shrink)
Recent accounts of the role of diagrams in mathematical reasoning take a Platonic line, according to which the proof depends on the similarity between the perceived shape of the diagram and the shape of the abstract object. This approach is unable to explain proofs which share the same diagram in spite of drawing conclusions about different figures. Saccheri’s use of the bi-rectangular isosceles quadrilateral in Euclides Vindicatus provides three such proofs. By forsaking abstract objects it is possible to give (...) a natural explanation of Saccheri’s proofs as well as standard geometric proofs and even number-theoretic proofs. (shrink)
This paper takes up a suggestion made by Floridi that the digital revolution is bringing about a profound change in our metaphysics. The paper aims to bring some older views from philosophy of mathematics to bear on this problem. The older views are concerned principally with mathematical realism—that is the claim that mathematical entities such as numbers exist. The new context for the discussion is informational realism, where the problem shifts to the question of the reality of information. (...)Mathematical realism is perhaps a special case of informational realism. The older views concerned with mathematical realism are the various theories of World 3. The concept of World 3 was introduced by Frege, whose position was close to Plato’s original views. Popper developed the theory of World 3 in a different direction which is characterised as ‘constructive Platonism’. But how is World 3 constructed? This is explored by means of two analogies: the analogy with money, and the analogy with meaning, as explicated by the later Wittgenstein. This leads to the development of an account of informational realism as constructive Aristoteliansim. Finally, this version of informational realism is compared with the informational structural realism which Floridi develops in his 2008 and 2009 papers in Synthese. Similarities and differences between the two positions are noted. (shrink)
Hacia finales del siglo XIX se llevó a cabo una gran revolución conceptual y metodológica en la matemática. En tal revolución se empezaron a emplear conceptos, métodos y técnicas que dejaban de lado la antigua forma de hacer matemática, propia del siglo XVIII y principios del siglo XIX, y a su vez proponían un Hacer abstracto, es decir, una forma abstracta de ocuparse del ente matemático. Pero no sólo se trataba de un cambio metodológico, sino que la pregunta por los (...) fundamentos se vuelve cada vez más importante y trae consigo interrogantes de carácter filosófico, como es el caso de la inquietud por la naturaleza del objeto matemático (la interrogante ontológica), y la posibilidad de conocimiento de dicho objeto (la interrogante epistemológica). Nuestro interés en este artículo es mostrar cómo la filosofía que respalda las investigaciones matemáticas de Cantor trata de dar respuestas a las interrogantes ontológicas y epistemológicas. Para ello hemos tratado de ofrecer un contexto histórico-conceptual que gira en torno a la pregunta por los fundamentos, y dentro de dicho contexto hemos señalado como se presenta el Platonismo absoluto de Cantor An approach to Cantor´s absolute PlatonismA great conceptual and methodological revolution in mathematics was carried out by the end of nineteen century. In that revolution people began to use concepts, methods and techniques which set aside the old way of doing mathematics, typical of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, and in turn they proposed an Abstract Make, i.e., an abstract form of dealing with the mathematical entity. But it was not only a methodological change, but the question of the foundations is becoming increasingly important which arises more philosophical questions, such as the concern about the nature of the mathematical object -the ontological question- and the possibility of knowledge of this object -the epistemological question. Our interest in this article is to show how the philosophy behind Cantor's mathematical research is intended to answer the ontological and epistemological questions. For it, this paper tries to provide a conceptual and historical context, which is revolving around the question of the foundations, and within this context, it is noted as the Absolute Platonism of Cantor. (shrink)
Platonism about mathematics (or mathematicalplatonism) isthe metaphysical view that there are abstract mathematical objectswhose existence is independent of us and our language, thought, andpractices. Just as electrons and planets exist independently of us, sodo numbers and sets. And just as statements about electrons and planetsare made true or false by the objects with which they are concerned andthese objects' perfectly objective properties, so are statements aboutnumbers and sets. Mathematical truths are therefore discovered, notinvented., Existence. (...) There are mathematical objects. (shrink)
For over thirty years I have argued that all branches of science and scholarship would have both their intellectual and humanitarian value enhanced if pursued in accordance with the edicts of wisdom-inquiry rather than knowledge-inquiry. I argue that this is true of mathematics. Viewed from the perspective of knowledge-inquiry, mathematics confronts us with two fundamental problems. (1) How can mathematics be held to be a branch of knowledge, in view of the difficulties that view engenders? What could mathematics be knowledge (...) about? (2) How do we distinguish significant from insignificant mathematics? This is a fundamental philosophical problem concerning the nature of mathematics. But it is also a practical problem concerning mathematics itself. In the absence of the solution to the problem, there is the danger that genuinely significant mathematics will be lost among the unchecked growth of a mass of insignificant mathematics. This second problem cannot, it would seem, be solved granted knowledge-inquiry. For, in order to solve the problem, mathematics needs to be related to values, but this is, it seems, prohibited by knowledge-inquiry because it could only lead to the subversion of mathematical rigour. Both problems are solved, however, when mathematics is viewed from the perspective of wisdom-inquiry. (1) Mathematics is not a branch of knowledge. It is a body of systematized, unified and inter-connected problem-solving methods, a body of problematic possibilities. (2) A piece of mathematics is significant if (a) it links up to the interconnected body of existing mathematics, ideally in such a way that some problems difficult to solve in other branches become much easier to solve when translated into the piece of mathematics in question; (b) it has fruitful applications for (other) worthwhile human endeavours. If ever the revolution from knowledge to wisdom occurs, I would hope wisdom mathematics would flourish, the nature of mathematics would become much more transparent, more pupils and students would come to appreciate the fascination of mathematics, and it would be easier to discern what is genuinely significant in mathematics (something that baffled even Einstein). As a result of clarifying what should count as significant, the pursuit of wisdom mathematics might even lead to the development of significant new mathematics. (shrink)
In this article the problem of unification of mathematical theories is discussed. We argue, that specific problems arise here, which are quite different than the problems in the case of empirical sciences. In particular, the notion of unification depends on the philosophical standpoint. We give an analysis of the notion of unification from the point of view of formalism, Gödel's platonism and Quine's realism. In particular we show, that the concept of “having the same object of study” should (...) be made precise in the case of mathematical theories. In the appendix we give a working proposal of a certain understanding of this notion. (shrink)
On the face of it, platonism seems very far removed from the scientific world view that dominates our age. Nevertheless many philosophers and mathematicians believe that modern mathematics requires some form of platonism. The defense of mathematicalplatonism that is both most direct and has been most influential in the analytic tradition in philosophy derives from the German logician-philosopher Gottlob Frege (1848-1925).2 I will therefore refer to it as Frege’s argument. This argument is part of the (...) background of any contemporary discussion of mathematicalplatonism. (shrink)
According to Quine’s indispensability argument, we ought to believe in just those mathematical entities that we quantify over in our best scientific theories. Quine’s criterion of ontological commitment is part of the standard indispensability argument. However, we suggest that a new indispensability argument can be run using Armstrong’s criterion of ontological commitment rather than Quine’s. According to Armstrong’s criterion, ‘to be is to be a truthmaker (or part of one)’. We supplement this criterion with our own brand of metaphysics, (...) 'Aristotelian (...) realism', in order to identify the truthmakers of mathematics. We consider in particular as a case study the indispensability to physics of real analysis (the theory of the real numbers). We conclude that it is possible to run an indispensability argument without Quinean baggage. (shrink)
This paper argues that it is scientific realists who should be most concerned about the issue of Platonism and anti-Platonism in mathematics. If one is merely interested in accounting for the practice of pure mathematics, it is unlikely that a story about the ontology of mathematical theories will be essential to such an account. The question of mathematical ontology comes to the fore, however, once one considers our scientific theories. Given that those theories include amongst their (...) laws assertions that imply the existence of mathematical objects, scientific realism, when construed as a claim about the truth or approximate truth of our scientific theories, implies mathematicalPlatonism. However, a standard argument for scientific realism, the 'no miracles' argument, falls short of establishing mathematicalPlatonism. As a result, this argument cannot establish scientific realism as it is usually defined, but only some weaker position. Scientific 'realists' should therefore either redefine their position as a claim about the existence of unobservable physical objects, or alternatively look for an argument for their position that does establish mathematicalPlatonism. (shrink)
It is argued here that mathematical objects cannot be simultaneously abstract and perceptible. Thus, naturalized versions of mathematicalplatonism, such as the one advocated by Penelope Maddy, are unintelligble. Thus, platonists cannot respond to Benacerrafian epistemological arguments against their view vias Maddy-style naturalization. Finally, it is also argued that naturalized platonists cannot respond to this situation by abandoning abstractness (that is, platonism); they must abandon perceptibility (that is, naturalism).
According to standard mathematicalplatonism, mathematical entities (numbers, sets, etc.) are abstract entities. As such, they lack causal powers and spatio-temporal location. Platonists owe us an account of how we acquire knowledge of this inaccessible mathematical realm. Some recent versions of mathematicalplatonism postulate a plenitude of mathematical entities, and Mark Balaguer has argued that, given the existence of such a plenitude, the attainment of mathematical knowledge is rendered non-problematic. I assess his (...) epistemology for such a profligate platonism and find it unsatisfactory because it lacks an adequate semantics, in particular, an adequate account of reference. (shrink)
Jody Azzouni has offered the following argument against the existence of mathematical entities: if, as it seems, mathematical entities play no role in mathematical practice, we therefore have no reason to believe in them. I consider this argument as it applies to mathematicalplatonism, and argue that it does not present a legitimate novel challenge to platonism. I also assess Azzouni's use of the ‘epistemic role puzzle’ (ERP) to undermine the platonist's alleged parallel between (...) skepticism about mathematical entities and external-world skepticism. I conclude that ERP fails to undermine this parallel. (shrink)
This article examines Hilary Putnam's work in the philosophy of mathematics and - more specifically - his arguments against mathematical realism or objectivism. These include a wide range of considerations, from Gödel's incompleteness-theorem and the limits of axiomatic set-theory as formalised in the Löwenheim-Skolem proof to Wittgenstein's sceptical thoughts about rule-following (along with Saul Kripke's ‘scepticalsolution’), Michael Dummett's anti-realist philosophy of mathematics, and certain problems – as Putnam sees them – with the conceptual foundations of Peano arithmetic. He also (...) adopts a thought-experimental approach – a variant of Descartes' dream scenario – in order to establish the in-principle possibility that we might be deceived by the apparent self-evidence of basic arithmetical truths or that it might be ‘rational’ to doubt them under some conceivable (even if imaginary) set of circumstances. Thus Putnam assumes that mathematical realism involves a self-contradictory ‘Platonist’ idea of our somehow having quasi-perceptual epistemic ‘contact’ with truths that in their very nature transcend the utmost reach of human cognitive grasp. On this account, quite simply, ‘nothing works’ in philosophy of mathematics since wecan either cling to that unworkable notion of objective (recognition-transcendent) truth or abandon mathematical realism in favour of a verificationist approach that restricts the range of admissible statements to those for which we happen to possess some means of proof or ascertainment. My essay puts the case, conversely, that these hyperbolic doubts are not forced upon us but result from a false understanding of mathematical realism – a curious mixture of idealist and empiricist themes – which effectively skews the debate toward a preordained sceptical conclusion. I then go on to mount a defence of mathematical realism with reference to recent work in this field and also to indicate some problems – as I seethem – with Putnam's thought-experimental approach as well ashis use of anti-realist arguments from Dummett, Kripke, Wittgenstein, and others. (shrink)
Recent years have seen a number of naturalist accounts of mathematics. Philip Kitcher’s version is one of the most important and influential. This paper includes a critical exposition of Kitcher’s views and a discussion of several issues including: mathematical epistemology, practice, history, the nature of applied mathematics. It argues that naturalism is an inadequate account and compares it with mathematicalPlatonism, to the advantage of the latter.
In this article I consider what it would take to combine a certain kind of mathematicalPlatonism with serious presentism. I argue that a Platonist moved to accept the existence of mathematical objects on the basis of an indispensability argument faces a significant challenge if she wishes to accept presentism. This is because, on the one hand, the indispensability argument can be reformulated as a new argument for the existence of past entities and, on the other hand, (...) if one accepts the indispensability argument for mathematical objects then it is hard to resist the analogous argument for the existence of the past. (shrink)
The indispensability argument seeks to establish the existence of mathematical objects. The success of the indispensability argument turns on finding cases of genuine extra-mathematical explanation (the explanation of physical facts by mathematical facts). In this paper, I identify a new case of extra-mathematical explanation, involving the search patterns of fully-aquatic marine predators. I go on to use this case to predict the prevalence of extra-mathematical explanation in science.