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Sorin Bangu [30]S. Bangu [1]Sorin Ioan Bangu [1]
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Profile: Sorin Bangu (University of Western Ontario)
  1. Inference to the Best Explanation and Mathematical Realism.Sorin Ioan Bangu - 2008 - Synthese 160 (1):13-20.
    Arguing for mathematical realism on the basis of Field’s explanationist version of the Quine–Putnam Indispensability argument, Alan Baker has recently claimed to have found an instance of a genuine mathematical explanation of a physical phenomenon. While I agree that Baker presents a very interesting example in which mathematics plays an essential explanatory role, I show that this example, and the argument built upon it, begs the question against the mathematical nominalist.
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  2. The Applicability of Mathematics in Science: Indispensability and Ontology.Sorin Bangu - 2012 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
  3. Indispensability and Explanation.Sorin Bangu - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (2):255-277.
    The question as to whether there are mathematical explanations of physical phenomena has recently received a great deal of attention in the literature. The answer is potentially relevant for the ontology of mathematics; if affirmative, it would support a new version of the indispensability argument for mathematical realism. In this article, I first review critically a few examples of such explanations and advance a general analysis of the desiderata to be satisfied by them. Second, in an attempt to strengthen the (...)
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  4. On Bertrand's Paradox.Sorin Bangu - 2010 - Analysis 70 (1):30-35.
    The Principle of Indifference is a central element of the ‘classical’ conception of probability, but, for all its strong intuitive appeal, it is widely believed that it faces a devastating objection: the so-called (by Poincare´) ‘Bertrand paradoxes’ (in essence, cases in which the same probability question receives different answers). The puzzle has fascinated many since its discovery, and a series of clever solutions (followed promptly by equally clever rebuttals) have been proposed. However, despite the long-standing interest in this problem, an (...)
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  5. Understanding Thermodynamic Singularities: Phase Transitions, Data, and Phenomena.Sorin Bangu - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (4):488-505.
    According to standard (quantum) statistical mechanics, the phenomenon of a phase transition, as described in classical thermodynamics, cannot be derived unless one assumes that the system under study is infinite. This is naturally puzzling since real systems are composed of a finite number of particles; consequently, a well‐known reaction to this problem was to urge that the thermodynamic definition of phase transitions (in terms of singularities) should not be “taken seriously.” This article takes singularities seriously and analyzes their role by (...)
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  6.  14
    Inference to the Best Explanation and Mathematical Realism.Sorin Bangu - 2007 - Synthese 160 (1):13-20.
    Arguing for mathematical realism on the basis of Field’s explanationist version of the Quine–Putnam Indispensability argument, Alan Baker has recently claimed to have found an instance of a genuine mathematical explanation of a physical phenomenon. While I agree that Baker presents a very interesting example in which mathematics plays an essential explanatory role, I show that this example, and the argument built upon it, begs the question against the mathematical nominalist.
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  7.  46
    Steiner on the Applicability of Mathematics and Naturalism.S. Bangu - 2006 - Philosophia Mathematica 14 (1):26-43.
    Steiner defines naturalism in opposition to anthropocentrism, the doctrine that the human mind holds a privileged place in the universe. He assumes the anthropocentric nature of mathematics and argues that physicists' employment of mathematically guided strategies in the discovery of quantum mechanics challenges scientists' naturalism. In this paper I show that Steiner's assumption about the anthropocentric character of mathematics is questionable. I draw attention to mathematicians' rejection of what Maddy calls ‘definabilism’, a methodological maxim governing the development of mathematics. I (...)
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  8.  54
    Structures, Fictions, and the Explanatory Epistemology of Mathematics in Science.Mark Balaguer, Elaine Landry, Sorin Bangu & Christopher Pincock - 2013 - Metascience 22 (2):247-273.
  9.  34
    Scientific Explanation and Understanding: Unificationism Reconsidered.Sorin Bangu - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (1):103-126.
    The articulation of an overarching account of scientific explanation has long been a central preoccupation for the philosophers of science. Although a while ago the literature was dominated by two approaches—a causal account and a unificationist account—today the consensus seems to be that the causal account has won. In this paper, I challenge this consensus and attempt to revive unificationism. More specifically, I aim to accomplish three goals. First, I add new criticisms to the standard anti-unificationist arguments, in order to (...)
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  10.  86
    Reifying Mathematics? Prediction and Symmetry Classification.Sorin Bangu - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (2):239-258.
    In this paper I reconstruct and critically examine the reasoning leading to the famous prediction of the ‘omega minus’ particle by M. Gell-Mann and Y. Ne’eman (in 1962) on the basis of a symmetry classification scheme. While the peculiarity of this prediction has occasionally been noticed in the literature, a detailed treatment of the methodological problems it poses has not been offered yet. By spelling out the characteristics of this type of prediction, I aim to underscore the challenges raised by (...)
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  11.  55
    Underdetermination and the Argument From Indirect Confirmation.Sorin Bangu - 2006 - Ratio 19 (3):269–277.
    In this paper I criticize one of the most convincing recent attempts to resist the underdetermination thesis, Laudan’s argument from indirect confirmation. Laudan highlights and rejects a tacit assumption of the underdetermination theorist, namely that theories can be confirmed only by empirical evidence that follows from them. He shows that once we accept that theories can also be confirmed indirectly, by evidence not entailed by them, the skeptical conclusion does not follow. I agree that Laudan is right to reject this (...)
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  12.  44
    Pythagorean Heuristic in Physics.Sorin Bangu - 2006 - Perspectives on Science 14 (4):387-416.
    : Some of the great physicists' belief in the existence of a connection between the aesthetical features of a theory (such as beauty and simplicity) and its truth is still one of the most intriguing issues in the aesthetics of science. In this paper I explore the philosophical credibility of a version of this thesis, focusing on the connection between the mathematical beauty and simplicity of a theory and its truth. I discuss a heuristic interpretation of this thesis, attempting to (...)
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  13.  29
    The Many Faces of Underdetermination.Sorin Bangu - 2011 - Metascience 20 (1):169-171.
  14.  47
    Popper: Yet Again. [REVIEW]Sorin Bangu - 2013 - Metascience 22 (1):165-168.
    Popper: yet again Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9669-y Authors Sorin Bangu, Department of Philosophy, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
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  15.  15
    Numerical Methods, Complexity, and Epistemic Hierarchies.Nicolas Fillion & Sorin Bangu - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):941-955.
    Modern mathematical sciences are hard to imagine without appeal to efficient computational algorithms. We address several conceptual problems arising from this interaction by outlining rival but complementary perspectives on mathematical tractability. More specifically, we articulate three alternative characterizations of the complexity hierarchy of mathematical problems that are themselves based on different understandings of computational constraints. These distinctions resolve the tension between epistemic contexts in which exact solutions can be found and the ones in which they cannot; however, contrary to a (...)
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  16.  2
    Is Understanding Factive?Sorin Bangu - 2017 - Balkan Journal of Philosophy 9 (1):35-44.
    Factivism is the view that understanding why a natural phenomenon takes place must rest exclusively on truths. One of the arguments for nonfactivism—the opposite view, that falsehoods can play principal roles in producing understanding—relies on our inclination to say that past, false, now superseded but still important scientific theories do provide understanding. In this paper, my aim is to articulate what I take to be an interesting point that has yet to be discussed: the natural way in which nonfactivism fits (...)
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  17.  39
    On the Role of Bridge Laws in Intertheoretic Relations.Sorin Bangu - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1108-1119.
  18.  44
    Wigner's Puzzle for Mathematical Naturalism.Sorin Bangu - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):245-263.
    I argue that a recent version of the doctrine of mathematical naturalism faces difficulties arising in connection with Wigner's old puzzle about the applicability of mathematics to natural science. I discuss the strategies to solve the puzzle and I show that they may not be available to the naturalist.
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  19.  13
    Later Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Mathematics.Sorin Bangu - 2012 - In J. Feiser & B. Dowden (eds.), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  20.  6
    Reifying Mathematics? Prediction and Symmetry Classification.Sorin Bangu - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (2):239-258.
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  21.  2
    Emily R. Grosholz.Representation and Productive Ambiguity in Mathematics and the Sciences. Xviii + 313 Pp., Figs., Bibl., Index. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. $63. [REVIEW]Sorin Bangu - 2009 - Isis 100 (1):137-139.
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  22.  1
    Steiner on the Applicability of Mathematics and Naturalism †I Would Like to Thank to Margaret Morrison, Jim Brown, Mark Steiner, Alasdair Urquhart, Patricia Marino, and Two Anonymous Referees of This Journal for Helpful Comments and Discussions.Sorin Bangu - 2006 - Philosophia Mathematica 14 (1):26-43.
    Steiner defines naturalism in opposition to anthropocentrism, the doctrine that the human mind holds a privileged place in the universe. He assumes the anthropocentric nature of mathematics and argues that physicists' employment of mathematically guided strategies in the discovery of quantum mechanics challenges scientists' naturalism. In this paper I show that Steiner's assumption about the anthropocentric character of mathematics is questionable. I draw attention to mathematicians' rejection of what Maddy calls ‘definabilism’, a methodological maxim governing the development of mathematics. I (...)
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  23.  3
    Representation and Productive Ambiguity in Mathematics and the Sciences. [REVIEW]Sorin Bangu - 2009 - Isis: A Journal of the History of Science 100:137-139.
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  24. Later Wittgenstein On Essentialism, Family Resemblance And Philosophical Method.Sorin Bangu - 2005 - Metaphysica 6 (2):53-73.
     
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  25. Later Wittgenstein on the Logicist Definition of Number.Sorin Bangu - 2016 - In S. Costreie (ed.), In S. Costreie (ed.) Early Analytic Philosophy. New Perspectives on the Tradition Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science Series. General editor W. Demopoulos. Springer. pp. 233-257.
     
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  26. Naturalizing Logico-Mathematical Knowledge: Approaches From Psychology and Cognitive Science.Sorin Bangu (ed.) - 2018 - Routledge.
    This book is meant as a part of the larger contemporary philosophical project of naturalizing logico-mathematical knowledge, and addresses the key question that motivates most of the work in this field: What is philosophically relevant about the nature of logico-mathematical knowledge in recent research in psychology and cognitive science? The question about this distinctive kind of knowledge is rooted in Plato’s dialogues, and virtually all major philosophers have expressed interest in it. The essays in this collection tackle this important philosophical (...)
     
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  27. Neither Weak, Nor Strong? Emergence and Functional Reduction.Sorin Bangu - 2015 - In Morrison & Falkenburg (eds.), Why More is Different. Philosophical Issues in Condensed Matter Physics and Complex Systems. Springer. pp. 253-266.
     
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  28. On The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences.Sorin Bangu - 2016 - In Ippoliti, Sterpetti & Nickles (eds.), Models and Inferences in Science. Springer. pp. 11-29.
     
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  29. Symmetry.Sorin Bangu - 2013 - In Batterman (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics. Oxford Univ Press. pp. 287-313.
     
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  30. Scientific Progress, Understanding and Unification.Sorin Bangu - 2015 - In Iulian D. Toader, Gabriel Sandu & Ilie Pȃrvu (eds.), Romanian Studies in Philosophy of Science. Springer Verlag.
  31. Why Does Water Boil? Fictions in Scientific Explanation.Sorin Bangu - 2015 - In U. Mäki (ed.), Recent Developments in the Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 319-330.
     
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  32. Wynn’s Experiments and the Later Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Mathematics.Sorin Bangu - 2012 - Iyyun 61:219-240.