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The Mathematical Universe

Foundations of Physics 38 (2):101-150 (2008)

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  1. Philosophy of Mathematics: Making a Fresh Start.Carlo Cellucci - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (1):32-42.
    The paper distinguishes between two kinds of mathematics, natural mathematics which is a result of biological evolution and artificial mathematics which is a result of cultural evolution. On this basis, it outlines an approach to the philosophy of mathematics which involves a new treatment of the method of mathematics, the notion of demonstration, the questions of discovery and justification, the nature of mathematical objects, the character of mathematical definition, the role of intuition, the role of diagrams in mathematics, and the (...)
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  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Structural Realism but Were Afraid to Ask.Roman Frigg & Ioannis Votsis - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):227-276.
    Everything you always wanted to know about structural realism but were afraid to ask Content Type Journal Article Pages 227-276 DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0025-7 Authors Roman Frigg, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE UK Ioannis Votsis, Philosophisches Institut, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstraße 1, Geb. 23.21/04.86, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 2.
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  • VI-Nominalistic Adequacy.Jeffrey Ketland - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (2pt2):201-217.
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  • The Applicability of Mathematics to Physical Modality.Nora Berenstain - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3361-3377.
    This paper argues that scientific realism commits us to a metaphysical determination relation between the mathematical entities that are indispensible to scientific explanation and the modal structure of the empirical phenomena those entities explain. The argument presupposes that scientific realism commits us to the indispensability argument. The viewpresented here is that the indispensability of mathematics commits us not only to the existence of mathematical structures and entities but to a metaphysical determination relation between those entities and the modal structure of (...)
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  • Darwinism in Metaethics: What If the Universal Acid Cannot Be Contained?Eleonora Severini & Fabio Sterpetti - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):1-25.
    The aim of this article is to explore the impact of Darwinism in metaethics and dispel some of the confusion surrounding it. While the prospects for a Darwinian metaethics appear to be improving, some underlying epistemological issues remain unclear. We will focus on the so-called Evolutionary Debunking Arguments (EDAs) which, when applied in metaethics, are defined as arguments that appeal to the evolutionary origins of moral beliefs so as to undermine their epistemic justification. The point is that an epistemic disanalogy (...)
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  • On a Loophole in Causal Closure.Johan Gamper - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (2):631-636.
    Standard definitions of causal closure focus on where the causes in question are. In this paper, the focus is changed to where they are not. Causal closure is linked to the principle that no cause of another universe causes an event in a particular universe. This view permits the one universe to be affected by the other via an interface. An interface between universes can be seen as a domain that violates the suggested account of causal closure, suggesting a view (...)
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  • The Physical World as a Blob: Is OSR Really Realism?Mauro Dorato - 2016 - Metascience 25 (2):173-181.
    In my review of Steven French's The structure of the world. Metaphysics & Representation. OUP, Oxford, 2014 I argue that the author is forced to navigate between the Scilla of Tegmark’s Pitagoreanism (2008) and the Carybdis of “blobobjectivism” (Horgan and Potrč 2008), namely the claim that the whole physical universe is a single concrete structurally complex but partless cosmos (a “blob”).
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  • Testability and Epistemic Shifts in Modern Cosmology.Helge Kragh - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 46 (1):48-56.
    During the last decade new developments in theoretical and speculative cosmology have reopened the old discussion of cosmology's scientific status and the more general question of the demarcation between science and non-science. The multiverse hypothesis, in particular, is central to this discussion and controversial because it seems to disagree with methodological and epistemic standards traditionally accepted in the physical sciences. But what are these standards and how sacrosanct are they? Does anthropic multiverse cosmology rest on evaluation criteria that conflict with (...)
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  • Temporal Naturalism.Lee Smolin - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52 (Part A):86-102.
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  • Is There a Compelling Argument for Ontic Structural Realism?Matteo Morganti - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1165-1176.
    Structural realism first emerged as an epistemological thesis aimed to avoid the socalled pessimistic metainduction on the history of science. Some authors, however, have suggested that the preservation of structure across theory change is best explained by endorsing the metaphysical thesis that structure is all there is. Although the possibility of this latter, ‘ontic’ form of structural realism has been extensively debated, not much has been said concerning its justification. In this article, I distinguish between two arguments in favor of (...)
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  • Unitary Inequivalence as a Problem for Structural Realism.Steven French - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (2):121-136.
    Howard argues that the existence of unitarily inequivalent representations in Quantum Field Theory presents a problem for structural realism in this context. I consider two potential ways round this problem: 1), follow Wallace in adopting the 'naive' Lagrangian form of QFT with cut-offs; 2), adapt Ruetsche's 'Swiss Army Knife' approach. The first takes us into the current debate between Wallace and Fraser on conventional vs. algebraic QFT. The second involves consideration of the role of inequivalent representations in understanding spontaneous symmetry (...)
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  • The Infinite Turn and Speculative Explanations in Cosmology.Reza Tavakol & Fabio Gironi - 2017 - Foundations of Science 22 (4):785-798.
    Infinity, in various guises, has been invoked recently in order to ‘explain’ a number of important questions regarding observable phenomena in science, and in particular in cosmology. Such explanations are by their nature speculative. Here we introduce the notions of relative infinity, closure, and economy of explanation and ask: to what extent explanations involving relative or real constructed infinities can be treated as reasonable?
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  • What Do We Mean When We Ask “Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?".Andrew Brenner - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (6):1305-1322.
    Let’s call the sentence “why is there something rather than nothing?” the Question. There’s no consensus, of course, regarding which proposed answer to the Question, if any, is correct, but occasionally there’s also controversy regarding the meaning of the Question itself. In this paper I argue that such controversy persists because there just isn’t one unique interpretation of the Question. Rather, the puzzlement expressed by the sentence “why is there something rather than nothing?” varies depending on the ontology implicitly or (...)
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  • Of Numbers and Electrons.Cian Dorr - 2010 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (2pt2):133-181.
    According to a tradition stemming from Quine and Putnam, we have the same broadly inductive reason for believing in numbers as we have for believing in electrons: certain theories that entail that there are numbers are better, qua explanations of our evidence, than any theories that do not. This paper investigates how modal theories of the form ‘Possibly, the concrete world is just as it in fact is and T’ and ‘Necessarily, if standard mathematics is true and the concrete world (...)
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  • Why History Matters to Philosophy of Physics.Thomas Ryckman - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 50:4-12.
  • A Physics-Based Metaphysics is a Metaphysics-Based Metaphysics.Chris Fields - 2014 - Acta Analytica 29 (2):131-148.
    The common practice of advancing arguments based on current physics in support of metaphysical conclusions has been criticized on the grounds that current physics may well be wrong. A further criticism is leveled here: current physics itself depends on metaphysical assumptions, so arguing from current physics is in fact arguing from yet more metaphysics. It is shown that the metaphysical assumptions underlying current physics are often deeply embedded in the formalism in which theories are presented, and hence impossible to dismiss (...)
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  • The Non-Unique Universe.Gordon McCabe - 2010 - Foundations of Physics 40 (6):629-637.
    The purpose of this paper is to elucidate, by means of concepts and theorems drawn from mathematical logic, the conditions under which the existence of a multiverse is a logical necessity in mathematical physics, and the implications of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem for theories of everything.Three conclusions are obtained in the final section: (i) the theory of the structure of our universe might be an undecidable theory, and this constitutes a potential epistemological limit for mathematical physics, but because such a theory (...)
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  • Mathematics and Physics: The Idea of a Pre-Established Harmony.Helge Kragh - 2015 - Science & Education 24 (5-6):515-527.
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  • Nominalistic Adequacy.Jeffrey Ketland - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (2pt2):201-217.
    Instrumentalist nominalism responds to the indispensability arguments by rejecting the demand that successful mathematicized scientific theories be nominalized, and instead claiming merely that such theories are nominalistically adequate: the concreta behave ‘as if’ the theory is true. This article examines some definitions of the concept of nominalistic adequacy and concludes with some considerations against instrumentalist nominalism.
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  • Bions as a Metaphysical Explanation of Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing.Brecht Debor - manuscript
    Why is there something rather than nothing? This paper explores one particular argument in favor of the answer that 'the existence of nothing' would amount to a logical contradiction. This argument consists of positing the existence of a novel entity, called a bion, of which all contingent things can be composed yet itself is non-contingent. First an overview of historical attempts to compile a systematic and exhaustive list of answers to the question is presented as context. Then follows an analysis (...)
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  • Some Comments on “The Mathematical Universe”.Gil Jannes - 2009 - Foundations of Physics 39 (4):397-406.