Physics Avoidance & Cooperative Semantics: Inferentialism and Mark Wilson’s Engagement with Naturalism Qua Applied Mathematics

Cosmos and History 16 (1):560-644 (2020)
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Abstract
Mark Wilson argues that the standard categorizations of "Theory T thinking"— logic-centered conceptions of scientific organization (canonized via logical empiricists in the mid-twentieth century)—dampens the understanding and appreciation of those strategic subtleties working within science. By "Theory T thinking," we mean to describe the simplistic methodology in which mathematical science allegedly supplies ‘processes’ that parallel nature's own in a tidily isomorphic fashion, wherein "Theory T’s" feigned rigor and methodological dogmas advance inadequate discrimination that fails to distinguish between explanatory structures that are architecturally distinct. One of Wilson's main goals is to reverse such premature exclusions and, thus, early on Wilson returns to John Locke's original physical concerns regarding material science and the congeries of descriptive concern insofar as capturing varied phenomena (i.e., cohesion, elasticity, fracture, and the transmission of coherent work) encountered amongst ordinary solids like wood and steel are concerned. Of course, Wilson methodologically updates such a purview by appealing to multiscalar techniques of modern computing, drawing from Robert Batterman's work on the greediness of scales and Jim Woodward's insights on causation.
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