Foundations of Science 26 (4):1105-1127 (2021)
AbstractOne of the central aims of the philosophical analysis of mathematical explanation is to determine how one can distinguish explanatory proofs from non-explanatory proofs. In this paper, I take a closer look at the current status of the debate, and what the challenges for the philosophical analysis of explanatory proofs are. In order to provide an answer to these challenges, I suggest we start from analysing the concept understanding. More precisely, I will defend four claims: understanding is a condition for explanation, unificatory understanding is a type of explanatory understanding, unificatory understanding is valuable in mathematics, and mathematical proofs can contribute to unificatory understanding. As a result, in a context where the epistemic aim is to unify mathematical results, I argue it is fruitful to make a distinction between proofs based on their explanatory value.
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Citations of this work
The Mark of Understanding: In Defense of an Ability Account.Sven Delarivière & Bart Van Kerkhove - 2021 - Axiomathes 31 (5):619-648.
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Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience.Carl F. Craver - 2007 - Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press.
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