Synthese (2):1-20 (2019)

Authors
Rebecca Morris
Independent Scholar
Abstract
Scientific explanations are widely recognized to have instrumental value by helping scientists make predictions and control their environment. In this paper I raise, and provide a first analysis of, the question whether explanatory proofs in mathematics have analogous instrumental value. I first identify an important goal in mathematical practice: reusing resources from existing proofs to solve new problems. I then consider the more specific question: do explanatory proofs have instrumental value by promoting reuse of the resources they contain? In general, I argue that the answer to this question is “no” and demonstrate this in detail for the theory of mathematical explanation developed by Marc Lange.
Keywords Mathematical explanation  Scientific explanation  Mathematical practice  Proof
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02114-y
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References found in this work BETA

Studies in the Logic of Explanation.Carl Gustav Hempel & Paul Oppenheim - 1948 - Philosophy of Science 15 (2):135-175.
Explanatory Unification and the Causal Structure of the World.Philip Kitcher - 1989 - In Philip Kitcher & Wesley Salmon (eds.), Scientific Explanation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 410-505.
Studies in the Logic of Explanation.Carl G. Hempel & Paul Oppenheim - 1948 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 14 (2):133-133.
4 Decades of Scientific Explanation.Wesley C. Salmon - 1989 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13:3-219.
Mathematical Explanation.Mark Steiner - 1978 - Philosophical Studies 34 (2):135 - 151.

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