Towards a Philosophy of Applied Mathematics

In Otávio Bueno & Øystein Linnebo (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Mathematics. Palgrave-Macmillan (2009)
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Abstract

Most contemporary philosophy of mathematics focuses on a small segment of mathematics, mainly the natural numbers and foundational disciplines like set theory. While there are good reasons for this approach, in this paper I will examine the philosophical problems associated with the area of mathematics known as applied mathematics. Here mathematicians pursue mathematical theories that are closely connected to the use of mathematics in the sciences and engineering. This area of mathematics seems to proceed using different methods and standards when compared to much of mathematics. I argue that applied mathematics can contribute to the philosophy of mathematics and our understanding of mathematics as a whole.

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Christopher Pincock
Ohio State University

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