Du Châtelet on the Need for Mathematics in Physics

Philosophy of Science (forthcoming)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
There is a tension in Emilie Du Châtelet’s thought on mathematics. The objects of mathematics are ideal or fictional entities; nevertheless, mathematics is presented as indispensable for an account of the physical world. After outlining Du Châtelet’s position, and showing how she departs from Christian Wolff’s pessimism about Newtonian mathematical physics, I show that the tension in her position is only apparent. Du Châtelet has a worked-out defense of the explanatory and epistemic need for mathematical objects, consistent with their metaphysical non-fundamentality. I conclude by sketching how Du Châtelet’s conception of mathematical indispensability differs interestingly from many contemporary approaches.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
WELDCO-2
Upload history
First archival date: 2021-01-18
Latest version: 2 (2021-01-23)
View other versions
Added to PP index
2021-01-18

Total views
126 ( #38,265 of 2,439,691 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
68 ( #9,494 of 2,439,691 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.