Comparing Mathematical Explanations

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Philosophers have developed several detailed accounts of what makes some mathematical proofs explanatory. Significantly less attention has been paid, however, to what makes some proofs more explanatory than other proofs. That is problematic, since the reasons for thinking that some proofs explain are also reasons for thinking that some proofs are more explanatory than others. So in this paper, I develop an account of comparative explanation in mathematics. I propose a theory of the `at least as explanatory as' relation among mathematical proofs.

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Isaac Wilhelm
National University of Singapore

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