Since the early days of physics, space has called for means to represent, experiment, and reason about it. Apart from physicists, the concept of space has intrigued also philosophers, mathematicians and, more recently, computer scientists. This longstanding interest has left us with a plethora of mathematical tools developed to represent and work with space. Here we take a special look at this evolution by considering the perspective of Logic. From the initial axiomatic efforts of Euclid, we revisit the major (...) milestones in the logical representation of space and investigate current trends. In doing so, we do not only consider classical logic, but we indulge ourselves with modal logics. These present themselves naturally by providing simple axiomatizations of different geometries, topologies, space-time causality, and vector spaces. (shrink)
There are many ways of understanding the nature of philosophical questions. One may consider their morphology, semantics, relevance, or scope. This article introduces a different approach, based on the kind of informational resources required to answer them. The result is a definition of philosophical questions as questions whose answers are in principle open to informed, rational, and honest disagreement, ultimate but not absolute, closed under further questioning, possibly constrained by empirical and logico-mathematical resources, but requiring noetic resources to (...) be answered. The article concludes with a discussion of some of the consequences of this definition for a conception of philosophy as the study (or “science”) of open questions, which uses conceptual design to analyse and answer them. (shrink)
Defending Robert Rosen’s claim that in every confrontation between physics and biology it is physics that has always had to give ground, it is shown that many of the most important advances in mathematics and physics over the last two centuries have followed from Schelling’s demand for a new physics that could make the emergence of life intelligible. Consequently, while reductionism prevails in biology, many biophysicists are resolutely anti-reductionist. This history is used to identify and defend a fragmented but progressive (...) tradition of anti-reductionist biomathematics. It is shown that the mathematicoephysico echemical morphology research program, the biosemiotics movement, and the relational biology of Rosen, although they have developed independently of each other, are built on and advance this antireductionist tradition of thought. It is suggested that understanding this history and its relationship to the broader history of post-Newtonian science could provide guidance for and justify both the integration of these strands and radically new work in post-reductionist biomathematics. (shrink)
Few metaphors in biology are more enduring than the idea of Adaptive Landscapes, originally proposed by Sewall Wright (1932) as a way to visually present to an audience of typically non- mathematically savvy biologists his ideas about the relative role of natural selection and genetic drift in the course of evolution. The metaphor, how- ever, was born troubled, not the least reason for which is the fact that Wright presented different diagrams in his original paper that simply can- not refer (...) to the same concept and are therefore hard to reconcile with each other (Pigliucci 2008). For instance, in some usages, the landscape’s non- fitness axes represent combinations of individual genotypes (which cannot sensibly be aligned on a linear axis, and accordingly were drawn by Wright as polyhedrons of increasing dimensionality). In other usages, however, the points on the diagram represent allele or genotypic frequencies, and so are actually populations, not individuals (and these can indeed be coherently represented along continuous axes). (shrink)
According to the computational theory of mind , to think is to compute. But what is meant by the word 'compute'? The generally given answer is this: Every case of computing is a case of manipulating symbols, but not vice versa - a manipulation of symbols must be driven exclusively by the formal properties of those symbols if it is qualify as a computation. In this paper, I will present the following argument. Words like 'form' and 'formal' are ambiguous, as (...) they can refer to form in either the syntactic or the morphological sense. CTM fails on each disambiguation, and the arguments for CTM immediately cease to be compelling once we register that ambiguity. The terms 'mechanical' and 'automatic' are comparably ambiguous. Once these ambiguities are exposed, it turns out that there is no possibility of mechanizing thought, even if we confine ourselves to domains where all problems can be settled through decision-procedures. The impossibility of mechanizing thought thus has nothing to do with recherché mathematical theorems, such as those proven by Gödel and Rosser. A related point is that CTM involves, and is guilty of reinforcing, a misunderstanding of the concept of an algorithm. (shrink)
Most philosophical accounts on scientific theories are affected by three dogmas or ingrained attitudes. These dogmas have led philosophers to choose between analyzing the internal structure of theories or their historical evolution. In this paper, I turn these three dogmas upside down. I argue (i) that mathematical practices are not epistemically neutral, (ii) that the morphology of theories can be very complex, and (iii) that one should view theoretical knowledge as the combination of internal factors and their intrinsic (...) historicity. (shrink)
In this paper, a formal theory is presented that describes syntactic and semantic mechanisms of philosophical discourses. They are treated as peculiar language systems possessing deep derivational structures called architectonic forms of philosophical systems, encoded in philosophical mind. Architectonic forms are constituents of more complex structures called architectonic spaces of philosophy. They are understood as formal and algorithmic representations of various philosophical traditions. The formal derivational machinery of a given space determines its class of all possible architectonic forms. Some of (...) them stand under factual historical philosophical systems and they organize processes of doing philosophy within these systems. Many architectonic forms have never been realized in the history of philosophy. The presented theory may be interpreted as falling under Hegel’s paradigm of comprehending cultural texts. This paradigm is enriched and inspired with Propp’s formal, morphological view on texts. The peculiarity of this modification of the Hegel-Propp paradigm consists of the use of algebraic and algorithmic tools of modeling processes of cultural development. To speak metaphorically, the theory is an attempt at the mathematical and logical history of philosophy inspired by the Internet metaphor. And that is why it belongs to the tradition of doing metaphilosophy in The Lvov-Warsaw School, which is continued today mainly by Woleński, Pelc, Perzanowski, and Jadacki. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to argue against the claim that morphological computation is substantially different from other kinds of physical computation. I show that some (but not all) purported cases of morphological computation do not count as specifically computational, and that those that do are solely physical computational systems. These latter cases are not, however, specific enough: all computational systems, not only morphological ones, may (and sometimes should) be studied in various ways, including their energy efficiency, cost, reliability, (...) and durability. Second, I critically analyze the notion of “offloading” computation to the morphology of an agent or robot, by showing that, literally, computation is sometimes not offloaded but simply avoided. Third, I point out that while the morphology of any agent is indicative of the environment that it is adapted to, or informative about that environment, it does not follow that every agent has access to its morphology as the model of its environment. (shrink)
The contribution of the body to cognition and control in natural and artificial agents is increasingly described as “off-loading computation from the brain to the body”, where the body is said to perform “morphological computation”. Our investigation of four characteristic cases of morphological computation in animals and robots shows that the ‘off-loading’ perspective is misleading. Actually, the contribution of body morphology to cognition and control is rarely computational, in any useful sense of the word. We thus distinguish (1) (...) class='Hi'>morphology that facilitates control, (2) morphology that facilitates perception and the rare cases of (3) morphological computation proper, such as ‘reservoir computing.’ where the body is actually used for computation. This result contributes to the understanding of the relation between embodiment and computation: The question for robot design and cognitive science is not whether computation is offloaded to the body, but to what extent the body facilitates cognition and control – how it contributes to the overall ‘orchestration’ of intelligent behaviour. (shrink)
Recent experimental evidence from developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience indicates that humans are equipped with unlearned elementary mathematical skills. However, formal mathematics has properties that cannot be reduced to these elementary cognitive capacities. The question then arises how human beings cognitively deal with more advanced mathematical ideas. This paper draws on the extended mind thesis to suggest that mathematical symbols enable us to delegate some mathematical operations to the external environment. In this view, mathematical symbols (...) are not only used to express mathematical concepts—they are constitutive of the mathematical concepts themselves. Mathematical symbols are epistemic actions, because they enable us to represent concepts that are literally unthinkable with our bare brains. Using case-studies from the history of mathematics and from educational psychology, we argue for an intimate relationship between mathematical symbols and mathematical cognition. (shrink)
In these days, there is an increasing technological development in intelligent tutoring systems. This field has become interesting to many researchers. In this paper, we present an intelligent tutoring system for teaching mathematics that help students understand the basics of math and that helps a lot of students of all ages to understand the topic because it's important for students of adding and subtracting. Through which the student will be able to study the course and solve related problems. An evaluation (...) of the intelligent tutoring systems was carried out and the results were encouraging. (shrink)
I argue that certain species of belief, such as mathematical, logical, and normative beliefs, are insulated from a form of Harman-style debunking argument whereas moral beliefs, the primary target of such arguments, are not. Harman-style arguments have been misunderstood as attempts to directly undermine our moral beliefs. They are rather best given as burden-shifting arguments, concluding that we need additional reasons to maintain our moral beliefs. If we understand them this way, then we can see why moral beliefs are (...) vulnerable to such arguments while mathematical, logical, and normative beliefs are not—the very construction of Harman-style skeptical arguments requires the truth of significant fragments of our mathematical, logical, and normative beliefs, but requires no such thing of our moral beliefs. Given this property, Harman-style skeptical arguments against logical, mathematical, and normative beliefs are self-effacing; doubting these beliefs on the basis of such arguments results in the loss of our reasons for doubt. But we can cleanly doubt the truth of morality. (shrink)
Published in 1903, this book was the first comprehensive treatise on the logical foundations of mathematics written in English. It sets forth, as far as possible without mathematical and logical symbolism, the grounds in favour of the view that mathematics and logic are identical. It proposes simply that what is commonly called mathematics are merely later deductions from logical premises. It provided the thesis for which _Principia Mathematica_ provided the detailed proof, and introduced the work of Frege to a (...) wider audience. In addition to the new introduction by John Slater, this edition contains Russell's introduction to the 1937 edition in which he defends his position against his formalist and intuitionist critics. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
The existence of fundamental moral disagreements is a central problem for moral realism and has often been contrasted with an alleged absence of disagreement in mathematics. However, mathematicians do in fact disagree on fundamental questions, for example on which set-theoretic axioms are true, and some philosophers have argued that this increases the plausibility of moral vis-à-vis mathematical realism. I argue that the analogy between mathematical and moral disagreement is not as straightforward as those arguments present it. In particular, (...) I argue that pluralist accounts of mathematics render fundamental mathematical disagreements compatible with mathematical realism in a way in which moral disagreements and moral realism are not. 11. (shrink)
We demonstrate how real progress can be made in the debate surrounding the enhanced indispensability argument. Drawing on a counterfactual theory of explanation, well-motivated independently of the debate, we provide a novel analysis of ‘explanatory generality’ and how mathematics is involved in its procurement. On our analysis, mathematics’ sole explanatory contribution to the procurement of explanatory generality is to make counterfactual information about physical dependencies easier to grasp and reason with for creatures like us. This gives precise content to key (...) intuitions traded in the debate, regarding mathematics’ procurement of explanatory generality, and adjudicates unambiguously in favour of the nominalist, at least as far as ex- planatory generality is concerned. (shrink)
This paper presents a view of nature as a network of infocomputational agents organized in a dynamical hierarchy of levels. It provides a framework for unification of currently disparate understandings of natural, formal, technical, behavioral and social phenomena based on information as a structure, differences in one system that cause the differences in another system, and computation as its dynamics, i.e. physical process of morphological change in the informational structure. We address some of the frequent misunderstandings regarding the natural/morphological computational (...) models and their relationships to physical systems, especially cognitive systems such as living beings. Natural morphological infocomputation as a conceptual framework necessitates generalization of models of computation beyond the traditional Turing machine model presenting symbol manipulation, and requires agent-based concurrent resource-sensitive models of computation in order to be able to cover the whole range of phenomena from physics to cognition. The central role of agency, particularly material vs. cognitive agency is highlighted. (shrink)
Indispensablists argue that when our belief system conflicts with our experiences, we can negate a mathematical belief but we do not because if we do, we would have to make an excessive revision of our belief system. Thus, we retain a mathematical belief not because we have good evidence for it but because it is convenient to do so. I call this view ‘ mathematical convenientism.’ I argue that mathematical convenientism commits the consequential fallacy and that (...) it demolishes the Quine-Putnam indispensability argument and Baker’s enhanced indispensability argument. (shrink)
In his influential book, The Nature of Morality, Gilbert Harman writes: “In explaining the observations that support a physical theory, scientists typically appeal to mathematical principles. On the other hand, one never seems to need to appeal in this way to moral principles.” What is the epistemological relevance of this contrast, if genuine? This chapter argues that ethicists and philosophers of mathematics have misunderstood it. They have confused what the chapter calls the justificatory challenge for realism about an area, (...) D—the challenge to justify our D-beliefs—with the reliability challenge for D-realism—the challenge to explain the reliability of our D-beliefs. Harman’s contrast is relevant to the first, but not, evidently, to the second. One upshot of the discussion is that genealogical debunking arguments are fallacious. Another is that indispensability considerations cannot answer the Benacerraf–Field challenge for mathematical realism. (shrink)
Some authors have begun to appeal directly to studies of argumentation in their analyses of mathematical practice. These include researchers from an impressively diverse range of disciplines: not only philosophy of mathematics and argumentation theory, but also psychology, education, and computer science. This introduction provides some background to their work.
Callard (2007) argues that it is metaphysically possible that a mathematical object, although abstract, causally affects the brain. I raise the following objections. First, a successful defence of mathematical realism requires not merely the metaphysical possibility but rather the actuality that a mathematical object affects the brain. Second, mathematical realists need to confront a set of three pertinent issues: why a mathematical object does not affect other concrete objects and other mathematical objects, what counts (...) as a mathematical object, and how we can have knowledge about an unchanging object. (shrink)
Gödel argued that intuition has an important role to play in mathematical epistemology, and despite the infamy of his own position, this opinion still has much to recommend it. Intuitions and folk platitudes play a central role in philosophical enquiry too, and have recently been elevated to a central position in one project for understanding philosophical methodology: the so-called ‘Canberra Plan’. This philosophical role for intuitions suggests an analogous epistemology for some fundamental parts of mathematics, which casts a number (...) of themes in recent philosophy of mathematics (concerning a priority and fictionalism, for example) in revealing new light. (shrink)
This chapter tries to answer the following question: How should we conceive of the method of mathematics, if we take a naturalist stance? The problem arises since mathematical knowledge is regarded as the paradigm of certain knowledge, because mathematics is based on the axiomatic method. Moreover, natural science is deeply mathematized, and science is crucial for any naturalist perspective. But mathematics seems to provide a counterexample both to methodological and ontological naturalism. To face this problem, some authors tried to (...) naturalize mathematics by relying on evolutionism. But several difficulties arise when we try to do this. This chapter suggests that, in order to naturalize mathematics, it is better to take the method of mathematics to be the analytic method, rather than the axiomatic method, and thus conceive of mathematical knowledge as plausible knowledge. (shrink)
In “What Makes a Scientific Explanation Distinctively Mathematical?” (2013b), Lange uses several compelling examples to argue that certain explanations for natural phenomena appeal primarily to mathematical, rather than natural, facts. In such explanations, the core explanatory facts are modally stronger than facts about causation, regularity, and other natural relations. We show that Lange's account of distinctively mathematical explanation is flawed in that it fails to account for the implicit directionality in each of his examples. This inadequacy is (...) remediable in each case by appeal to ontic facts that account for why the explanation is acceptable in one direction and unacceptable in the other direction. The mathematics involved in these examples cannot play this crucial normative role. While Lange's examples fail to demonstrate the existence of distinctively mathematical explanations, they help to emphasize that many superficially natural scientific explanations rely for their explanatory force on relations of stronger-than-natural necessity. These are not opposing kinds of scientific explanations; they are different aspects of scientific explanation. (shrink)
PurposeIn this article, we aim to present and defend a contextual approach to mathematical explanation.MethodTo do this, we introduce an epistemic reading of mathematical explanation.ResultsThe epistemic reading not only clarifies the link between mathematical explanation and mathematical understanding, but also allows us to explicate some contextual factors governing explanation. We then show how several accounts of mathematical explanation can be read in this approach.ConclusionThe contextual approach defended here clears up the notion of explanation and pushes (...) us towards a pluralist vision on mathematical explanation. (shrink)
The primary justification for mathematical structuralism is its capacity to explain two observations about mathematical objects, typically natural numbers. Non-eliminative structuralism attributes these features to the particular ontology of mathematics. I argue that attributing the features to an ontology of structural objects conflicts with claims often made by structuralists to the effect that their structuralist theses are versions of Quine’s ontological relativity or Putnam’s internal realism. I describe and argue for an alternative explanation for these features which instead (...) explains the attributes them to the mathematical practice of representing numbers using more concrete tokens, such as sets, strokes and so on. (shrink)
A new trend in the philosophical literature on scientific explanation is that of starting from a case that has been somehow identified as an explanation and then proceed to bringing to light its characteristic features and to constructing an account for the type of explanation it exemplifies. A type of this approach to thinking about explanation – the piecemeal approach, as I will call it – is used, among others, by Lange (2013) and Pincock (2015) in the context of their (...) treatment of the problem of mathematical explanations of physical phenomena. This problem is of central importance in two different recent philosophical disputes: the dispute about the existence on non-causal scientific explanations and the dispute between realists and antirealists in the philosophy of mathematics. My aim in this paper is twofold. I will first argue that Lange (2013) and Pincock (2015) fail to make a significant contribution to these disputes. They fail to contribute to the dispute in the philosophy of mathematics because, in this context, their approach can be seen as question begging. They also fail to contribute to the dispute in the general philosophy of science because, as I will argue, there are important problems with the cases discussed by Lange and Pincock. I will then argue that the source of the problems with these two papers has to do with the fact that the piecemeal approach used to account for mathematical explanation is problematic. (shrink)
We argue that if Stephen Yablo (2005) is right that philosophers of mathematics ought to endorse a fictionalist view of number-talk, then there is a compelling reason for deflationists about truth to endorse a fictionalist view of truth-talk. More specifically, our claim will be that, for deflationists about truth, Yablo’s argument for mathematical fictionalism can be employed and mounted as an argument for truth-theoretic fictionalism.
Vehicle externalism maintains that the vehicles of our mental representations can be located outside of the head, that is, they need not be instantiated by neurons located inside the brain of the cogniser. But some disagree, insisting that ‘non-derived’, or ‘original’, content is the mark of the cognitive and that only biologically instantiated representational vehicles can have non-derived content, while the contents of all extra-neural representational vehicles are derived and thus lie outside the scope of the cognitive. In this paper (...) we develop one aspect of Menary’s vehicle externalist theory of cognitive integration—the process of enculturation—to respond to this longstanding objection. We offer examples of how expert mathematicians introduce new symbols to represent new mathematical possibilities that are not yet understood, and we argue that these new symbols have genuine non-derived content, that is, content that is not dependent on an act of interpretation by a cognitive agent and that does not derive from conventional associations, as many linguistic representations do. (shrink)
An analysis of the counter-intuitive properties of infinity as understood differently in mathematics, classical physics and quantum physics allows the consideration of various paradoxes under a new light (e.g. Zeno’s dichotomy, Torricelli’s trumpet, and the weirdness of quantum physics). It provides strong support for the reality of abstractness and mathematical Platonism, and a plausible reason why there is something rather than nothing in the concrete universe. The conclusions are far reaching for science and philosophy.
Engineers fine-tune the design of robot bodies for control purposes, however, a methodology or set of tools is largely absent, and optimization of morphology (shape, material properties of robot bodies, etc.) is lagging behind the development of controllers. This has become even more prominent with the advent of compliant, deformable or ”soft” bodies. These carry substantial potential regarding their exploitation for control—sometimes referred to as ”morphological computation”. In this article, we briefly review different notions of computation by physical systems (...) and propose the dynamical systems framework as the most useful in the context of describing and eventually designing the interactions of controllers and bodies. Then, we look at the pros and cons of simple vs. complex bodies, critically reviewing the attractive notion of ”soft” bodies automatically taking over control tasks. We address another key dimension of the design space—whether model-based control should be used and to what extent it is feasible to develop faithful models for different morphologies. (shrink)
In the present article we attempt to show that Aristotle's syllogistic is an underlying logiC which includes a natural deductive system and that it isn't an axiomatic theory as had previously been thought. We construct a mathematical model which reflects certain structural aspects of Aristotle's logic. We examine the relation of the model to the system of logic envisaged in scattered parts of Prior and Posterior Analytics. Our interpretation restores Aristotle's reputation as a logician of consummate imagination and skill. (...) Several attributions of shortcomings and logical errors to Aristotle are shown to be without merit. Aristotle's logic is found to be self-sufficient in several senses: his theory of deduction is logically sound in every detail. (His indirect deductions have been criticized, but incorrectly on our account.) Aristotle's logic presupposes no other logical concepts, not even those of propositional logic. The Aristotelian system is seen to be complete in the sense that every valid argument expressible in his system admits of a deduction within his deductive system: every semantically valid argument is deducible. (shrink)
Einstein, like most philosophers, thought that there cannot be mathematical truths which are both necessary and about reality. The article argues against this, starting with prima facie examples such as "It is impossible to tile my bathroom floor with regular pentagonal tiles." Replies are given to objections based on the supposedly purely logical or hypothetical nature of mathematics.
An influential position in the philosophy of biology claims that there are no biological laws, since any apparently biological generalization is either too accidental, fact-like or contingent to be named a law, or is simply reducible to physical laws that regulate electrical and chemical interactions taking place between merely physical systems. In the following I will stress a neglected aspect of the debate that emerges directly from the growing importance of mathematical models of biological phenomena. My main aim is (...) to defend, as well as reinforce, the view that there are indeed laws also in biology, and that their difference in stability, contingency or resilience with respect to physical laws is one of degrees, and not of kind . (shrink)
Of all twentieth century philosophers, it is Gilles Deleuze whose work agitates most forcefully for a worldview privileging becoming over being, difference over sameness; the world as a complex, open set of multiplicities. Nevertheless, Deleuze remains singular in enlisting mathematical resources to underpin and inform such a position, refusing the hackneyed opposition between ‘static’ mathematical logic versus ‘dynamic’ physical world. This is an international collection of work commissioned from foremost philosophers, mathematicians and philosophers of science, to address the (...) wide range of problematics and influences in this most important strand of Deleuze’s thinking. Contributors are Charles Alunni, Alain Badiou, Gilles Châtelet, Manuel DeLanda, Simon Duffy, Robin Durie, Aden Evens, Arkady Plotnitsky, Jean-Michel Salanskis, Daniel Smith and David Webb. (shrink)
Humans and other animals have an evolved ability to detect discrete magnitudes in their environment. Does this observation support evolutionary debunking arguments against mathematical realism, as has been recently argued by Clarke-Doane, or does it bolster mathematical realism, as authors such as Joyce and Sinnott-Armstrong have assumed? To find out, we need to pay closer attention to the features of evolved numerical cognition. I provide a detailed examination of the functional properties of evolved numerical cognition, and propose that (...) they prima facie favor a realist account of numbers. (shrink)
Mathematicians distinguish between proofs that explain their results and those that merely prove. This paper explores the nature of explanatory proofs, their role in mathematical practice, and some of the reasons why philosophers should care about them. Among the questions addressed are the following: what kinds of proofs are generally explanatory (or not)? What makes a proof explanatory? Do all mathematical explanations involve proof in an essential way? Are there really such things as explanatory proofs, and if so, (...) how do they relate to the sorts of explanation encountered in philosophy of science and metaphysics? (shrink)
Philosophy can shed light on mathematical modeling and the juxtaposition of modeling and empirical data. This paper explores three philosophical traditions of the structure of scientific theory—Syntactic, Semantic, and Pragmatic—to show that each illuminates mathematical modeling. The Pragmatic View identifies four critical functions of mathematical modeling: (1) unification of both models and data, (2) model fitting to data, (3) mechanism identification accounting for observation, and (4) prediction of future observations. Such facets are explored using a recent exchange (...) between two groups of mathematical modelers in plant biology. Scientific debate can arise from different modeling philosophies. (shrink)
Some scientific explanations appear to turn on pure mathematical claims. The enhanced indispensability argument appeals to these ‘mathematical explanations’ in support of mathematical platonism. I argue that the success of this argument rests on the claim that mathematical explanations locate pure mathematical facts on which their physical explananda depend, and that any account of mathematical explanation that supports this claim fails to provide an adequate understanding of mathematical explanation.
“Emergence” – the notion of novel, unpredictable and irreducible properties developing out of complex organisational entities – is itself a complex, multi-dimensional concept. To date there is no single, generally agreed upon “theory of emergence”, but instead a number of different approaches and perspectives. Neither is there a common conceptual or meta-theoretical framework by which to systematically identify, exemplify and compare different “theories”. Building upon earlier work done by sociologist Kenneth Bailey, this article presents a method for creating such a (...) framework, and outlines the conditions for a collaborative effort in order to carry out such a task. A brief historical and theoretical background is given both to the concept of “emergence” and to the non-quantified modelling method General Morphological Analysis (GMA). (shrink)
Mathematical models provide explanations of limited power of specific aspects of phenomena. One way of articulating their limits here, without denying their essential powers, is in terms of contrastive explanation.
Some have argued for a division of epistemic labor in which mathematicians supply truths and philosophers supply their necessity. We argue that this is wrong: mathematics is committed to its own necessity. Counterfactuals play a starring role.
The integration of embodied and computational approaches to cognition requires that non-neural body parts be described as parts of a computing system, which realizes cognitive processing. In this paper, based on research about morphological computations and the ecology of vision, I argue that nonneural body parts could be described as parts of a computational system, but they do not realize computation autonomously, only in connection with some kind of—even in the simplest form—central control system. Finally, I integrate the proposal defended (...) in the paper with the contemporary mechanistic approach to wide computation. (shrink)
The published works of scientists often conceal the cognitive processes that led to their results. Scholars of mathematical practice must therefore seek out less obvious sources. This article analyzes a widely circulated mathematical joke, comprising a list of spurious proof types. An account is proposed in terms of argumentation schemes: stereotypical patterns of reasoning, which may be accompanied by critical questions itemizing possible lines of defeat. It is argued that humor is associated with risky forms of inference, which (...) are essential to creative mathematics. The components of the joke are explicated by argumentation schemes devised for application to topic-neutral reasoning. These in turn are classified under seven headings: retroduction, citation, intuition, meta-argument, closure, generalization, and definition. Finally, the wider significance of this account for the cognitive science of mathematics is discussed. (shrink)
This paper argues that scientific realism commits us to a metaphysical determination relation between the mathematical entities that are indispensible to scientific explanation and the modal structure of the empirical phenomena those entities explain. The argument presupposes that scientific realism commits us to the indispensability argument. The viewpresented here is that the indispensability of mathematics commits us not only to the existence of mathematical structures and entities but to a metaphysical determination relation between those entities and the modal (...) structure of the physical world. The no-miracles argument is the primary motivation for scientific realism. It is a presupposition of this argument that unobservable entities are explanatory only when they determine the empirical phenomena they explain. I argue that mathematical entities should also be seen as explanatory only when they determine the empirical facts they explain, namely, the modal structure of the physical world. Thus, scientific realism commits us to a metaphysical determination relation between mathematics and physical modality that has not been previously recognized. The requirement to account for the metaphysical dependence of modal physical structure on mathematics limits the class of acceptable solutions to the applicability problem that are available to the scientific realist. (shrink)
A basic thesis of Neokantian epistemology and philosophy of science contends that the knowing subject and the object to be known are only abstractions. What really exists, is the relation between both. For the elucidation of this “knowledge relation ("Erkenntnisrelation") the Neokantians of the Marburg school used a variety of mathematical metaphors. In this con-tribution I reconsider some of these metaphors proposed by Paul Natorp, who was one of the leading members of the Marburg school. It is shown that (...) Natorp's metaphors are not unrelated to those used in some currents of contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
Investigation into the sequence structure of the genetic code by means of an informatic approach is a real success story. The features of human language are also the object of investigation within the realm of formal language theories. They focus on the common rules of a universal grammar that lies behind all languages and determine generation of syntactic structures. This universal grammar is a depiction of material reality, i.e., the hidden logical order of things and its relations determined by natural (...) laws. Therefore mathematics is viewed not only as an appropriate tool to investigate human language and genetic code structures through computer sciencebased formal language theory but is itself a depiction of material reality. This confusion between language as a scientific tool to describe observations/experiences within cognitive constructed models and formal language as a direct depiction of material reality occurs not only in current approaches but was the central focus of the philosophy of science debate in the twentieth century, with rather unexpected results. This article recalls these results and their implications for more recent mathematical approaches that also attempt to explain the evolution of human language. (shrink)
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