Mathematical Explanation in Science

Abstract
Does mathematics ever play an explanatory role in science? If so then this opens the way for scientific realists to argue for the existence of mathematical entities using inference to the best explanation. Elsewhere I have argued, using a case study involving the prime-numbered life cycles of periodical cicadas, that there are examples of indispensable mathematical explanations of purely physical phenomena. In this paper I respond to objections to this claim that have been made by various philosophers, and I discuss potential future directions of research for each side in the debate over the existence of abstract mathematical objects.
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axp025
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References found in this work BETA
The Explanatory Power of Phase Spaces.Aidan Lyon & Mark Colyvan - 2007 - Philosophia Mathematica 16 (2):227-243.
Response to Colyvan.Joseph Melia - 2002 - Mind 111 (441):75-80.

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Citations of this work BETA
What Makes a Scientific Explanation Distinctively Mathematical?Marc Lange - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (3):485-511.
Indexing and Mathematical Explanation.Alan Baker & Mark Colyvan - 2011 - Philosophia Mathematica 19 (3):323-334.
Mathematical Explanations Of Empirical Facts, And Mathematical Realism.Aidan Lyon - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):559-578.

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