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  1. Indexing and Mathematical Explanation.Alan Baker & Mark Colyvan - 2011 - 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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  • Causal Explanation and Ontological Commitment.Mark Colyvan - 1999 - In Uwe Meixner Peter Simons (ed.), Metaphysics in the Post-Metaphysical Age. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. pp. 1--141.
  • Road Work Ahead: Heavy Machinery on the Easy Road.M. Colyvan - 2012 - Mind 121 (484):1031-1046.
    In this paper I reply to Jody Azzouni, Otávio Bueno, Mary Leng, David Liggins, and Stephen Yablo, who offer defences of so-called ‘ easy road ’ nominalist strategies in the philosophy of mathematics.
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  • Aspects of Mathematical Explanation: Symmetry, Unity, and Salience.Marc Lange - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (4):485-531.
    Unlike explanation in science, explanation in mathematics has received relatively scant attention from philosophers. Whereas there are canonical examples of scientific explanations, there are few examples that have become widely accepted as exhibiting the distinction between mathematical proofs that explain why some mathematical theorem holds and proofs that merely prove that the theorem holds without revealing the reason why it holds. This essay offers some examples of proofs that mathematicians have considered explanatory, and it argues that these examples suggest a (...)
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  • Indispensability Arguments in the Philosophy of Mathematics.Mark Colyvan - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    One of the most intriguing features of mathematics is its applicability to empirical science. Every branch of science draws upon large and often diverse portions of mathematics, from the use of Hilbert spaces in quantum mechanics to the use of differential geometry in general relativity. It's not just the physical sciences that avail themselves of the services of mathematics either. Biology, for instance, makes extensive use of difference equations and statistics. The roles mathematics plays in these theories is also varied. (...)
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