Taking mathematical fictions seriously

Synthese 95 (3):433 - 458 (1993)
Abstract
I argue on the basis of an example, Fourier theory applied to the problem of vibration, that Field's program for nominalizing science is unlikely to succeed generally, since no nominalistic variant will provide us with the kind of physical insight into the phenomena that the standard theory supplies. Consideration of the same example also shows, I argue, that some of the motivation for mathematical fictionalism, particularly the alleged problem of cognitive access, is more apparent than real.
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DOI 10.1007/BF01063881
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Science Without Numbers.Hartry Field - 1980 - Princeton University Press.
Realism in Mathematics.Penelope Maddy - 1990 - Oxford University Prress.
Mathematical Truth.Paul Benacerraf - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (19):661-679.

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