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  1. The Mark of Understanding: In Defense of an Ability Account.Sven Delarivière & Bart Van Kerkhove - 2021 - Axiomathes 31 (5):619-648.
    Understanding is a valued trait in any epistemic practice, scientific or not. Yet, when it comes to characterizing its nature, the notion has not received the philosophical attention it deserves. We have set ourselves three tasks in this paper. First, we defend the importance of this endeavor. Second, we consider and criticize a number of proposals to this effect. Third, we defend an alternative account, focusing on abilities as the proper mark of understanding.
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  • Proving Quadratic Reciprocity: Explanation, Disagreement, Transparency and Depth.William D’Alessandro - 2020 - Synthese (9):1-44.
    Gauss’s quadratic reciprocity theorem is among the most important results in the history of number theory. It’s also among the most mysterious: since its discovery in the late 18th century, mathematicians have regarded reciprocity as a deeply surprising fact in need of explanation. Intriguingly, though, there’s little agreement on how the theorem is best explained. Two quite different kinds of proof are most often praised as explanatory: an elementary argument that gives the theorem an intuitive geometric interpretation, due to Gauss (...)
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  • Philosophy of Mathematical Practice: A Primer for Mathematics Educators.Yacin Hamami & Rebecca Morris - forthcoming - ZDM Mathematics Education.
    In recent years, philosophical work directly concerned with the practice of mathematics has intensified, giving rise to a movement known as the philosophy of mathematical practice . In this paper we offer a survey of this movement aimed at mathematics educators. We first describe the core questions philosophers of mathematical practice investigate as well as the philosophical methods they use to tackle them. We then provide a selective overview of work in the philosophy of mathematical practice covering topics including the (...)
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  • Is Mathematics a Domain for Philosophers of Explanation?Erik Weber & Joachim Frans - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (1):125-142.
    In this paper we discuss three interrelated questions. First: is explanation in mathematics a topic that philosophers of mathematics can legitimately investigate? Second: are the specific aims that philosophers of mathematical explanation set themselves legitimate? Finally: are the models of explanation developed by philosophers of science useful tools for philosophers of mathematical explanation? We argue that the answer to all these questions is positive. Our views are completely opposite to the views that Mark Zelcer has put forward recently. Throughout this (...)
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  • Explanation in Mathematics: Proofs and Practice.William D'Alessandro - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (11).
    Mathematicians distinguish between proofs that explain their results and those that merely prove. This paper explores the nature of explanatory proofs, their role in mathematical practice, and some of the reasons why philosophers should care about them. Among the questions addressed are the following: what kinds of proofs are generally explanatory (or not)? What makes a proof explanatory? Do all mathematical explanations involve proof in an essential way? Are there really such things as explanatory proofs, and if so, how do (...)
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