Synthese 192 (7):2035-2051 (2015)

Michele Friend
George Washington University
There are three elements in this paper. One is what we shall call ‘the Hungarian project’. This is the collected work of Andréka, Madarász, Németi, Székely and others. The second is Molinini’s philosophical work on the nature of mathematical explanations in science. The third is my pluralist approach to mathematics. The theses of this paper are that the Hungarian project gives genuine mathematical explanations for physical phenomena. A pluralist account of mathematical explanation can help us with appreciating the significance of the Hungarian project. The significance consists in the fruitfulness and spread of the project. The spread is wide because the explanations are written in the very familiar language of first-order logic with identity. For this reason, the explanation is understandable to many mathematicians. Because of the methodology adopted in the Hungarian project, the explanations are fruitful in another sense. In the Hungarian project certain questions are asked that would not be asked with a more usual methodology. The Hungarians are distinguished from other scientists in asking logical and mathematical questions, and these both deepen our understanding of the physical theories and induce further spread to mathematics and philosophy.
Keywords Relativity theories  Hungarian project  Mathematical explanation  Pluralism in explanation  Fruitfulness  Epistemology
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-014-0608-x
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References found in this work BETA

Truth and Objectivity.Crispin Wright - 1992 - Harvard University Press.
Explanation and Scientific Understanding.Michael Friedman - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.
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What Are Logical Notions?John Corcoran & Alfred Tarski - 1986 - History and Philosophy of Logic 7 (2):143-154.

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