Authors
Cristian Soto
University of Chile
Abstract
This article elaborates the epistemic indispensability argument, which fully embraces the epistemic contribution of mathematics to science, but rejects the contention that such a contribution is a reason for granting reality to mathematicalia. Section 1 introduces the distinction between ontological and epistemic readings of the indispensability argument. Section 2 outlines some of the main flaws of the first premise of the ontological reading. Section 3 advances the epistemic indispensability argument in view of both applied and pure mathematics. And Sect. 4 makes a case for the epistemic approach, which firstly calls into question the appeal to inference to the best explanation in the defense of the indispensability claim; secondly, distinguishes between mathematical and physical posits; and thirdly, argues that even though some may think that inference to the best explanation works in the postulation of physical posits, no similar considerations are available for postulating mathematicalia.
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DOI 10.1007/s10838-018-9437-9
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References found in this work BETA

Two Dogmas of Empiricism.Willard V. O. Quine - 1951 - Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.
Realism, Mathematics and Modality.Hartry Field - 1988 - Philosophical Topics 16 (1):57-107.
Mathematical Explanation in Science.Alan Baker - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):611-633.

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