# Mathematical Explanation by Law

*British Journal for the Philosophy of Science*70 (3):683-717 (2019)

**Abstract**

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 appeals to relevance logic and uses resources in information theory to understand the explanatory relationship between mathematical and physical facts. 1Introduction2Anchoring3The Basic Deductive-Mathematical Account4The Genuineness Problem5Irrelevance6Relevance and Information7Objections and Replies 7.1Against relevance logic7.2Too epistemic7.3Informational containment8Conclusion

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**Reprint years**

2019

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BARMEB-2

**Revision history**

Archival date: 2018-12-20

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References found in this work BETA

How the Laws of Physics Lie.Cartwright, Nancy

Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Williamson, Timothy

Depth. An Account of Scientific Explanation.Strevens, Michael

Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation.Woodward, James

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2017-11-29

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