Intentional explanation as a cognitive function of applied mathematics

Liberal Arts in Russia 6 (1):18-32 (2017)

Modern applied mathematics is focused on global problems of civilization. Its ultimate aim is to provide human socio-cultural activity with tool and project. That is why applied mathematics nowadays usually gives scientific explanation typical to sociological knowledge - an intentional explanation. In the article, a question is discussed about the abilities of mathematics to explain. This question was put by J. Brown in the article published in the journal ‘Epistemology and Philosophy of Science‘. The philosophy of mathematics, as well as the philosophy of science, cannot do without consideration of philosophical problems related to the development of modern applied mathematics as a vast area of modern science. In the past half century, the interest in the philosophical interpretation of the application of the process of mathematics has intensified. In the domestic literature, interest in this problem has blossomed in 70-80 years. As a result, ‘the application of mathematics‘ was interpreted in two ways: as the mathematization of science and mathematics as a way to participate in solving the problems of life. In today’s context, the theme of the effectiveness of mathematics sounded once again. However, it has a new aspect: the effectiveness of mathematics as a tool to be used in human activities. The term ‘applied mathematics‘ obtained three meanings: 1) the usefulness of mathematics to human life and society; 2) mathematization - the application of mathematics in other fields of knowledge; 3) modern applied mathematics - branch of mathematics, the core of which is the computational mathematics and computer systems. The author analyzed the cognitive situation corresponding to these three meanings. In the third case, i.e. in modern applied mathematics, the study consists of two phases: the nomination of a mathematical model and the study of the mathematical model. It is appropriate to call the explanation given by the step as the intentional explanation. Because the first of the two stages of the research in applied mathematics - the creation of the model and the study the model - is the basis of the second, the reasonable explanation of the possible actions of the actor given in applied mathematics is called intentional.
Keywords modern applied mathematics  computational mathematics  mathematical modeling  object and subject of mathematical research  actor  social action  vital problem situation  intentional explanation
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