The explanatory power of phase spaces

Philosophia Mathematica 16 (2):227-243 (2008)
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Abstract

David Malament argued that Hartry Field's nominalisation program is unlikely to be able to deal with non-space-time theories such as phase-space theories. We give a specific example of such a phase-space theory and argue that this presentation of the theory delivers explanations that are not available in the classical presentation of the theory. This suggests that even if phase-space theories can be nominalised, the resulting theory will not have the explanatory power of the original. Phase-space theories thus raise problems for nominalists that go beyond Malament's initial concerns. Thanks to Mark Steiner, Jens Christian Bjerring, Ben Fraser, John Mathewson, and two anonymous referees for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?

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Author Profiles

Aidan Lyon
Leiden University
Mark Colyvan
University of Sydney

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References found in this work

Science Without Numbers: A Defence of Nominalism.Hartry H. Field - 1980 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
The origin of species.Charles Darwin - 1859 - New York: Norton. Edited by Philip Appleman.
The Indispensability of Mathematics.Mark Colyvan - 2001 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Science without numbers, A Defence of Nominalism.Hartry Field - 1980 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 171 (4):502-503.

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