Unification and mathematical explanation in science

Synthese:1-25 (forthcoming)
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Mathematics clearly plays an important role in scientific explanation. Debate continues, however, over the kind of role that mathematics plays. I argue that if pure mathematical explananda and physical explananda are unified under a common explanation within science, then we have good reason to believe that mathematics is explanatory in its own right. The argument motivates the search for a new kind of scientific case study, a case in which pure mathematical facts and physical facts are explanatorily unified. I argue that it is possible for there to be such cases, and provide some toy examples to demonstrate this. I then identify a potential source of scientific case studies as a guide for future work.
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Archival date: 2021-03-28
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