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  1. The Metarepresentational Role of Mathematics in Scientific Explanations.Colin McCullough-Benner - 2022 - Philosophy of Science 89 (4):742-760.
    Several philosophers have argued that to capture the generality of certain scientific explanations, we must count mathematical facts among their explanantia. I argue that we can better understand these explanations by adopting a more nuanced stance toward mathematical representations, recognizing the role of mathematical representation schemata in representing highly abstract features of physical systems. It is by picking out these abstract but nonmathematical features that explanations appealing to mathematics achieve a high degree of generality. The result is a rich conception (...)
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  • Unification and mathematical explanation.Robert Knowles - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3923-3943.
    This paper provides a sorely-needed evaluation of the view that mathematical explanations in science explain by unifying. Illustrating with some novel examples, I argue that the view is misguided. For believers in mathematical explanations in science, my discussion rules out one way of spelling out how they work, bringing us one step closer to the right way. For non-believers, it contributes to a divide-and-conquer strategy for showing that there are no such explanations in science. My discussion also undermines the appeal (...)
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  • Not so distinctively mathematical explanations: topology and dynamical systems.Aditya Jha, Douglas Campbell, Clemency Montelle & Phillip L. Wilson - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-40.
    So-called ‘distinctively mathematical explanations’ (DMEs) are said to explain physical phenomena, not in terms of contingent causal laws, but rather in terms of mathematical necessities that constrain the physical system in question. Lange argues that the existence of four or more equilibrium positions of any double pendulum has a DME. Here we refute both Lange’s claim itself and a strengthened and extended version of the claim that would pertain to any n-tuple pendulum system on the ground that such explanations are (...)
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  • An Extra-Mathematical Program Explanation of Color Experience.Nicholas Danne - 2020 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 33 (3):153-173.
    In the debate over whether mathematical facts, properties, or entities explain physical events (in what philosophers call “extra-mathematical” explanations), Aidan Lyon’s (2012) affirmative answer stands out for its employment of the program explanation (PE) methodology of Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit (1990). Juha Saatsi (2012; 2016) objects, however, that Lyon’s examples from the indispensabilist literature are (i) unsuitable for PE, (ii) nominalizable into non-mathematical terms, and (iii) mysterious about the explanatory relation alleged to obtain between the PE’s mathematical explanantia and (...)
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  • Unification and mathematical explanation in science.Sam Baron - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7339-7363.
    Mathematics clearly plays an important role in scientific explanation. Debate continues, however, over the kind of role that mathematics plays. I argue that if pure mathematical explananda and physical explananda are unified under a common explanation within science, then we have good reason to believe that mathematics is explanatory in its own right. The argument motivates the search for a new kind of scientific case study, a case in which pure mathematical facts and physical facts are explanatorily unified. I argue (...)
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  • Abstract objects.Gideon Rosen - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.