Wigner's Puzzle on Applicability of Mathematics: On what Table to Assemble It?

Catalin Barboianu
University of Bucharest (PhD)
Attempts at solving what has been labeled as Eugene Wigner’s puzzle of applicability of mathematics are still far from arriving at an acceptable solution. The accounts developed to explain the “miracle” of applied mathematics vary in nature, foundation, and solution, from denying the existence of a genuine problem to designing structural theories based on mathematical formalism. Despite this variation, all investigations treated the problem in a unitary way with respect to the target, pointing to one or two ‘why’ or ‘how’ questions to be answered. In this paper, I argue that two analyses, a semantic analysis ab initio and a metatheoretical analysis starting from the types of unreasonableness involved in this problem, will establish the interdisciplinary character of the problem and reveal many more targets, which may be addressed with different methodologies. In order to address objectively the philosophical problem of applicability of mathematics, a foundational revision of the problem is needed.
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