Switch to: References

Add citations

You must login to add citations.
  1. Intrinsic Explanation and Field’s Dispensabilist Strategy.Russell Marcus - 2013 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 21 (2):163-183.
    Philosophy of mathematics for the last half-century has been dominated in one way or another by Quine’s indispensability argument. The argument alleges that our best scientific theory quantifies over, and thus commits us to, mathematical objects. In this paper, I present new considerations which undermine the most serious challenge to Quine’s argument, Hartry Field’s reformulation of Newtonian Gravitational Theory.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  • Indispensability and Explanation: An Overview and Introduction.Daniele Molinini, Fabrice Pataut & Andrea Sereni - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2):317-332.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   6 citations  
  • Mirror Symmetry and Other Miracles in Superstring Theory.Dean Rickles - 2013 - Foundations of Physics 43 (1):54-80.
    The dominance of string theory in the research landscape of quantum gravity physics (despite any direct experimental evidence) can, I think, be justified in a variety of ways. Here I focus on an argument from mathematical fertility, broadly similar to Hilary Putnam’s ‘no miracles argument’ that, I argue, many string theorists in fact espouse in some form or other. String theory has generated many surprising, useful, and well-confirmed mathematical ‘predictions’—here I focus on mirror symmetry and the mirror theorem. These predictions (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   17 citations  
  • The Enhanced Indispensability Argument, the Circularity Problem, and the Interpretability Strategy.Jan Heylen & Lars Arthur Tump - forthcoming - Synthese:1-13.
    Within the context of the Quine–Putnam indispensability argument, one discussion about the status of mathematics is concerned with the ‘Enhanced Indispensability Argument’, which makes explicit in what way mathematics is supposed to be indispensable in science, namely explanatory. If there are genuine mathematical explanations of empirical phenomena, an argument for mathematical platonism could be extracted by using inference to the best explanation. The best explanation of the primeness of the life cycles of Periodical Cicadas is genuinely mathematical, according to Baker (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  • Evidential Holism and Indispensability Arguments.Joe Morrison - 2012 - Erkenntnis 76 (2):263-278.
    The indispensability argument is a method for showing that abstract mathematical objects exist. Various versions of this argument have been proposed. Lately, commentators seem to have agreed that a holistic indispensability argument will not work, and that an explanatory indispensability argument is the best candidate. In this paper I argue that the dominant reasons for rejecting the holistic indispensability argument are mistaken. This is largely due to an overestimation of the consequences that follow from evidential holism. Nevertheless, the holistic indispensability (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   12 citations  
  • Mathematical Explanation by Law.Sam Baron - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):683-717.
    Call an explanation in which a non-mathematical fact is explained—in part or in whole—by mathematical facts: an extra-mathematical explanation. Such explanations have attracted a great deal of interest recently in arguments over mathematical realism. In this article, a theory of extra-mathematical explanation is developed. The theory is modelled on a deductive-nomological theory of scientific explanation. A basic DN account of extra-mathematical explanation is proposed and then redeveloped in the light of two difficulties that the basic theory faces. The final view (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  • The Narrow Ontic Counterfactual Account of Distinctively Mathematical Explanation.Mark Povich - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz008.
    An account of distinctively mathematical explanation (DME) should satisfy three desiderata: it should account for the modal import of some DMEs; it should distinguish uses of mathematics in explanation that are distinctively mathematical from those that are not (Baron [2016]); and it should also account for the directionality of DMEs (Craver and Povich [2017]). Baron’s (forthcoming) deductive-mathematical account, because it is modelled on the deductive-nomological account, is unlikely to satisfy these desiderata. I provide a counterfactual account of DME, the Narrow (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  • How Not to Enhance the Indispensability Argument.Russell Marcus - 2014 - Philosophia Mathematica 22 (3):345-360.
    The new explanatory or enhanced indispensability argument alleges that our mathematical beliefs are justified by their indispensable appearances in scientific explanations. This argument differs from the standard indispensability argument which focuses on the uses of mathematics in scientific theories. I argue that the new argument depends for its plausibility on an equivocation between two senses of explanation. On one sense the new argument is an oblique restatement of the standard argument. On the other sense, it is vulnerable to an instrumentalist (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   3 citations  
  • Two Weak Points of the Enhanced Indispensability Argument – Domain of the Argument and Definition of Indispensability.Vladimir Drekalović - 2016 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 23 (3):280-298.
    The contemporary Platonists in the philosophy of mathematics argue that mathematical objects exist. One of the arguments by which they support this standpoint is the so-called Enhanced Indispensability Argument (EIA). This paper aims at pointing out the difficulties inherent to the EIA. The first is contained in the vague formulation of the Argument, which is the reason why not even an approximate scope of the set objects whose existence is stated by the Argument can be established. The second problem is (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  • Should Scientific Realists Be Platonists?Jacob Busch & Joe Morrison - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2):435-449.
    Enhanced indispensability arguments claim that Scientific Realists are committed to the existence of mathematical entities due to their reliance on Inference to the best explanation. Our central question concerns this purported parity of reasoning: do people who defend the EIA make an appropriate use of the resources of Scientific Realism to achieve platonism? We argue that just because a variety of different inferential strategies can be employed by Scientific Realists does not mean that ontological conclusions concerning which things we should (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   7 citations  
  • 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 (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   11 citations  
  • Rejecting Mathematical Realism While Accepting Interactive Realism.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Analysis and Metaphysics 17:7-21.
    Indispensablists contend that accepting scientific realism while rejecting mathematical realism involves a double standard. I refute this contention by developing an enhanced version of scientific realism, which I call interactive realism. It holds that interactively successful theories are typically approximately true, and that the interactive unobservable entities posited by them are likely to exist. It is immune to the pessimistic induction while mathematical realism is susceptible to it.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  • A Defence of Metaphysical Ethical Naturalism.[author unknown] - unknown
    This dissertation is a defence of metaphysical ethical naturalism according to which there is a moral reality which is part of the natural world. The implication of this view is that moral properties, such as moral goodness, justice, compassion and so forth are part of the natural world, and inquiries concerning these moral entities are conducted in similar empirical ways of reasoning to that in which scientific inquiries are conducted. I defend metaphysical ethical naturalism by a variety of explanationist argument (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  • Can We Have Mathematical Understanding of Physical Phenomena?Gabriel Târziu - 2018 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 33 (1):91-109.
    Can mathematics contribute to our understanding of physical phenomena? One way to try to answer this question is by getting involved in the recent philosophical dispute about the existence of mathematical explanations of physical phenomena. If there is such a thing, given the relation between explanation and understanding, we can say that there is an affirmative answer to our question. But what if we do not agree that mathematics can play an explanatory role in science? Can we still consider that (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  • On the Role of Mathematics in Scientific Representation.Anis Saad - unknown
    In this dissertation, I consider from a philosophical perspective three related questions concerning the contribution of mathematics to scientific representation. In answering these questions, I propose and defend Carnapian frameworks for examination into the nature and role of mathematics in science. The first research question concerns the varied ways in which mathematics contributes to scientific representation. In response, I consider in Chapter 2 two recent philosophical proposals claiming to account for the explanatory role of mathematics in science, by Philip Kitcher, (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  • Mathematical Explanations Of Empirical Facts, And Mathematical Realism.Aidan Lyon - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):559-578.
    A main thread of the debate over mathematical realism has come down to whether mathematics does explanatory work of its own in some of our best scientific explanations of empirical facts. Realists argue that it does; anti-realists argue that it doesn't. Part of this debate depends on how mathematics might be able to do explanatory work in an explanation. Everyone agrees that it's not enough that there merely be some mathematics in the explanation. Anti-realists claim there is nothing mathematics can (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   42 citations  
  • Scientific Realism and the Indispensability Argument for Mathematical Realism: A Marriage Made in Hell.Jacob Busch - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (4):307-325.
    An emphasis on explanatory contribution is central to a recent formulation of the indispensability argument for mathematical realism. Because scientific realism is argued for by means of inference to the best explanation, it has been further argued that being a scientific realist entails a commitment to IA and thus to mathematical realism. It has, however, gone largely unnoticed that the way that IBE is argued to be truth conducive involves citing successful applications of IBE and tracing this success over time. (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   7 citations  
  • Optimisation and Mathematical Explanation: Doing the Lévy Walk.Sam Baron - 2014 - Synthese 191 (3).
    The indispensability argument seeks to establish the existence of mathematical objects. The success of the indispensability argument turns on finding cases of genuine extra- mathematical explanation. In this paper, I identify a new case of extra- mathematical explanation, involving the search patterns of fully-aquatic marine predators. I go on to use this case to predict the prevalence of extra- mathematical explanation in science.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   17 citations  
  • Indispensability and the Problem of Compatible Explanations: A Reply to ‘Should Scientific Realists Be Platonists?’.Josh Hunt - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2):451-467.
    Alan Baker’s enhanced indispensability argument supports mathematical platonism through the explanatory role of mathematics in science. Busch and Morrison defend nominalism by denying that scientific realists use inference to the best explanation to directly establish ontological claims. In response to Busch and Morrison, I argue that nominalists can rebut the EIA while still accepting Baker’s form of IBE. Nominalists can plausibly require that defenders of the EIA establish the indispensability of a particular mathematical entity. Next, I argue that IBE cannot (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  • Magicicada, Mathematical Explanation and Mathematical Realism.Davide Rizza - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (1):101-114.
    Baker claims to provide an example of mathematical explanation of an empirical phenomenon which leads to ontological commitment to mathematical objects. This is meant to show that the positing of mathematical entities is necessary for satisfactory scientific explanations and thus that the application of mathematics to science can be used, at least in some cases, to support mathematical realism. In this paper I show that the example of explanation Baker considers can actually be given without postulating mathematical objects and thus (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   24 citations  
  • Platonism in Metaphysics.Mark Balaguer - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Platonism is the view that there exist such things as abstract objects — where an abstract object is an object that does not exist in space or time and which is therefore entirely non-physical and nonmental. Platonism in this sense is a contemporary view. It is obviously related to the views of Plato in important ways, but it is not entirely clear that Plato endorsed this view, as it is defined here. In order to remain neutral on this question, the (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   12 citations  
  • Mathematical Explanation in Science.Alan Baker - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):611-633.
    Does mathematics ever play an explanatory role in science? If so then this opens the way for scientific realists to argue for the existence of mathematical entities using inference to the best explanation. Elsewhere I have argued, using a case study involving the prime-numbered life cycles of periodical cicadas, that there are examples of indispensable mathematical explanations of purely physical phenomena. In this paper I respond to objections to this claim that have been made by various philosophers, and I discuss (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   119 citations  
  • Mathematics and Explanatory Generality.Alan Baker - 2017 - Philosophia Mathematica 25 (2):194-209.
    According to one popular nominalist picture, even when mathematics features indispensably in scientific explanations, this mathematics plays only a purely representational role: physical facts are represented, and these exclusively carry the explanatory load. I think that this view is mistaken, and that there are cases where mathematics itself plays an explanatory role. I distinguish two kinds of explanatory generality: scope generality and topic generality. Using the well-known periodical-cicada example, and also a new case study involving bicycle gears, I argue that (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   6 citations  
  • Evidence, Explanation and Enhanced Indispensability.Daniele Molinini - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2):403-422.
    In this paper I shall adopt a possible reading of the notions of ‘explanatory indispensability’ and ‘genuine mathematical explanation in science’ on which the Enhanced Indispensability Argument proposed by Alan Baker is based. Furthermore, I shall propose two examples of mathematical explanation in science and I shall show that, whether the EIA-partisans accept the reading I suggest, they are easily caught in a dilemma. To escape this dilemma they need to adopt some account of explanation and offer a plausible answer (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   8 citations  
  • The Explanatory Dispensability of Idealizations.Sam Baron - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2):365-386.
    Enhanced indispensability arguments seek to establish realism about mathematics based on the explanatory role that mathematics plays in science. Idealizations pose a problem for such arguments. Idealizations, in a similar way to mathematics, boost the explanatory credentials of our best scientific theories. And yet, idealizations are not the sorts of things that are supposed to attract a realist attitude. I argue that the explanatory symmetry between idealizations and mathematics can potentially be broken as follows: although idealizations contribute to the explanatory (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   9 citations  
  • Is the Indispensability Argument Dispensable?Jacob Busch - 2011 - Theoria 77 (2):139-158.
    When the indispensability argument for mathematical entities (IA) is spelled out, it would appear confirmational holism is needed for the argument to work. It has been argued that confirmational holism is a dispensable premise in the argument if a construal of naturalism, according to which it is denied that we can take different epistemic attitudes towards different parts of our scientific theories, is adopted. I argue that the suggested variety of naturalism will only appeal to a limited number of philosophers. (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   7 citations  
  • Equivalent Explanations and Mathematical Realism. Reply to “Evidence, Explanation, and Enhanced Indispensability”.Andrea Sereni - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2):423-434.
    The author of “Evidence, Explanation, Enhanced Indispensability” advances a criticism to the Enhanced Indispensability Argument and the use of Inference to the Best Explanation in order to draw ontological conclusions from mathematical explanations in science. His argument relies on the availability of equivalent though competing explanations, and a pluralist stance on explanation. I discuss whether pluralism emerges as a stable position, and focus here on two main points: whether cases of equivalent explanations have been actually offered, and which ontological consequences (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  • Vectors and Beyond: Geometric Algebra and its Philosophical Significance.Peter Simons - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (4):381-395.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  • The Varieties of Indispensability Arguments.Marco Panza & Andrea Sereni - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2):469-516.
    The indispensability argument comes in many different versions that all reduce to a general valid schema. Providing a sound IA amounts to providing a full interpretation of the schema according to which all its premises are true. Hence, arguing whether IA is sound results in wondering whether the schema admits such an interpretation. We discuss in full details all the parameters on which the specification of the general schema may depend. In doing this, we consider how different versions of IA (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  • Platonism in Metaphysics.Mark Balaguer - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1 (1):1.
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   14 citations  
  • Can Indispensability‐Driven Platonists Be (Serious) Presentists?Sam Baron - 2013 - Theoria 79 (3):153-173.
    In this article I consider what it would take to combine a certain kind of mathematical Platonism with serious presentism. I argue that a Platonist moved to accept the existence of mathematical objects on the basis of an indispensability argument faces a significant challenge if she wishes to accept presentism. This is because, on the one hand, the indispensability argument can be reformulated as a new argument for the existence of past entities and, on the other hand, if one accepts (...)
    Download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark