Authors
Jacob Busch
University of Aarhus
Abstract
An emphasis on explanatory contribution is central to a recent formulation of the indispensability argument for mathematical realism. Because scientific realism is argued for by means of inference to the best explanation, it has been further argued that being a scientific realist entails a commitment to IA and thus to mathematical realism. It has, however, gone largely unnoticed that the way that IBE is argued to be truth conducive involves citing successful applications of IBE and tracing this success over time. This in turn involves identifying those constituents of scientific theories that are responsible for their predictive success and showing that these constituents are retained across theory change in science. I argue that even if mathematics can be shown to feature in best explanations, the role of mathematics in scientific theories does not satisfy the condition that mathematics is always retained across theory change. According to a scientific realist, this condition needs to be met for making ontological claims on the basis of explanatory contribution. Thus scientific realists are not committed to mathematical realism on the basis of this recent formulation of IA
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DOI 10.1080/02698595.2011.623361
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References found in this work BETA

How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Realism, Mathematics and Modality.Hartry Field - 1988 - Philosophical Topics 16 (1):57-107.

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Citations of this work BETA

Indispensability, Causation and Explanation.Sorin Bangu - 2018 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 33 (2):219-232.

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