The application of mathematics to natural science

Journal of Philosophy 86 (9):449-480 (1989)
The first part of the essay describes how mathematics, in particular mathematical concepts, are applicable to nature. mathematical constructs have turned out to correspond to physical reality. this correlation between the world and mathematical concepts, it is argued, is a true phenomenon. the second part of this essay argues that the applicability of mathematics to nature is mysterious, in that not only is there no known explanation for the correlation between mathematics and physical reality, but there is a good reason to except no such correlation. it is argued that there is a subjective element in the decision as to what constitutes a mathematical concept. a number of purported solutions to the mystery of the applicability of mathematics to nature are discarded, until we are left with eugene wigner's thesis that we are here confronted with a "miracle that we neither understand nor deserve."
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DOI 10.2307/2026759
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James Franklin (1994). The Formal Sciences Discover the Philosophers' Stone. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 25 (4):513-533.

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