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  1. The Narrow Ontic Counterfactual Account of Distinctively Mathematical Explanation.Mark Povich - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (2):511-543.
    An account of distinctively mathematical explanation (DME) should satisfy three desiderata: it should account for the modal import of some DMEs; it should distinguish uses of mathematics in explanation that are distinctively mathematical from those that are not (Baron [2016]); and it should also account for the directionality of DMEs (Craver and Povich [2017]). Baron’s (forthcoming) deductive-mathematical account, because it is modelled on the deductive-nomological account, is unlikely to satisfy these desiderata. I provide a counterfactual account of DME, the Narrow (...)
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  • Not so distinctively mathematical explanations: topology and dynamical systems.Aditya Jha, Douglas Campbell, Clemency Montelle & Phillip L. Wilson - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-40.
    So-called ‘distinctively mathematical explanations’ (DMEs) are said to explain physical phenomena, not in terms of contingent causal laws, but rather in terms of mathematical necessities that constrain the physical system in question. Lange argues that the existence of four or more equilibrium positions of any double pendulum has a DME. Here we refute both Lange’s claim itself and a strengthened and extended version of the claim that would pertain to any n-tuple pendulum system on the ground that such explanations are (...)
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  • Methodology in the Ontology of Artworks: Exploring Hermeneutic Fictionalism.Elisa Caldarola - 2020 - In Concha Martinez Vidal & José Luis Falguera Lopez (ed.), Abstract Objects: For and Against.
    There is growing debate about what is the correct methodology for research in the ontology of artworks. In the first part of this essay, I introduce my view: I argue that semantic descriptivism is a semantic approach that has an impact on meta-ontological views and can be linked with a hermeneutic fictionalist proposal on the meta-ontology of artworks such as works of music. In the second part, I offer a synthetic presentation of the four main positive meta-ontological views that have (...)
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  • Cognitive extra-mathematical explanations.Travis Holmes - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-23.
    This paper advances the view that some explanations in cognitive science are extra-mathematical explanations. Demonstrating the plausibility of this interpretation centers around certain efficient coding cases which ineliminably enlist information theoretic laws, facts and theorems to identify in-principle, mathematical constraints on neuronal information processing capacities. The explanatory structure in these cases is shown to parallel other putative instances of mathematical explanation. The upshot for cognitive mathematical explanations is thus two-fold: first, the view capably rebuts standard mechanistic objections to non-mechanistic explanation; (...)
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  • Hamilton's Rule: A Non-Causal Explanation?Vaios Koliofotis & Philippe Verreault-Julien - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 92:109-118.
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  • The Directionality of Topological Explanations.Daniel Kostić & Kareem Khalifa - 2021 - Synthese (5-6):14143-14165.
    Proponents of ontic conceptions of explanation require all explanations to be backed by causal, constitutive, or similar relations. Among their justifications is that only ontic conceptions can do justice to the ‘directionality’ of explanation, i.e., the requirement that if X explains Y , then not-Y does not explain not-X . Using topological explanations as an illustration, we argue that non-ontic conceptions of explanation have ample resources for securing the directionality of explanations. The different ways in which neuroscientists rely on multiplexes (...)
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  • There Are No Mathematical Explanations.Jaakko Kuorikoski - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (2):189-212.
    If ontic dependence is the basis of explanation, there cannot be mathematical explanations. Accounting for the explanatory dependency between mathematical properties and empirical phenomena poses i...
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  • The Derivation of Poiseuille’s Law: Heuristic and Explanatory Considerations.Christopher Pincock - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11667-11687.
    This paper illustrates how an experimental discovery can prompt the search for a theoretical explanation and also how obtaining such an explanation can provide heuristic benefits for further experimental discoveries. The case considered begins with the discovery of Poiseuille’s law for steady fluid flow through pipes. The law was originally supported by careful experiments, and was only later explained through a derivation from the more basic Navier–Stokes equations. However, this derivation employed a controversial boundary condition and also relied on a (...)
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  • Mathematical Explanation: A Pythagorean Proposal.Samuel Baron - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Mathematics appears to play an explanatory role in science. This, in turn, is thought to pave a way toward mathematical Platonism. A central challenge for mathematical Platonists, however, is to provide an account of how mathematical explanations work. I propose a property-based account: physical systems possess mathematical properties, which either guarantee the presence of other mathematical properties and, by extension, the physical states that possess them; or rule out other mathematical properties, and their associated physical states. I explain why Platonists (...)
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  • Explicação Matemática.Eduardo Castro - 2020 - Compêndio Em Linha de Problemas de Filosofia Analítica.
    Opinionated state of the art paper on mathematical explanation. After a general introduction to the subject, the paper is divided into two parts. The first part is dedicated to intra-mathematical explanation and the second is dedicated to extra-mathematical explanation. Each of these parts begins to present a set of diverse problems regarding each type of explanation and, afterwards, it analyses relevant models of the literature. Regarding the intra-mathematical explanation, the models of deformable proofs, mathematical saliences and the demonstrative structure of (...)
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  • A Deductive-Nomological Model for Mathematical Scientific Explanation.Eduardo Castro - 2020 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 24 (1):1-27.
    I propose a deductive-nomological model for mathematical scientific explanation. In this regard, I modify Hempel’s deductive-nomological model and test it against some of the following recent paradigmatic examples of the mathematical explanation of empirical facts: the seven bridges of Königsberg, the North American synchronized cicadas, and Hénon-Heiles Hamiltonian systems. I argue that mathematical scientific explanations that invoke laws of nature are qualitative explanations, and ordinary scientific explanations that employ mathematics are quantitative explanations. I analyse the repercussions of this deductivenomological model (...)
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  • Distinctively Mathematical Explanation and the Problem of Directionality: A Quasi-Erotetic Solution.Travis L. Holmes - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 87:13-21.
    The increasing preponderance of opinion that some natural phenomena can be explained mathematically has inspired a search for a viable account of distinctively mathematical explanation. Among the desiderata for an adequate account is that it should solve the problem of directionality and the reversals of distinctively mathematical explanations should not count as members among the explanatory fold but any solution must also avoid the exclusion of genuine explanations. In what follows, I introduce and defend what I refer to as a (...)
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  • Unifying Statistically Autonomous and Mathematical Explanations.Travis L. Holmes - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (3):1-22.
    A subarea of the debate over the nature of evolutionary theory addresses what the nature of the explanations yielded by evolutionary theory are. The statisticalist line is that the general principles of evolutionary theory are not only amenable to a mathematical interpretation but that they need not invoke causes to furnish explanations. Causalists object that construction of these general principles involves crucial causal assumptions. A recent view claims that some biological explanations are statistically autonomous explanations whereby phenomena are accounted for (...)
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  • Mathematical Representation and Explanation: Structuralism, the Similarity Account, and the Hotchpotch Picture.Ziren Yang - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Leeds
    This thesis starts with three challenges to the structuralist accounts of applied mathematics. Structuralism views applied mathematics as a matter of building mapping functions between mathematical and target-ended structures. The first challenge concerns how it is possible for a non-mathematical target to be represented mathematically when the mapping functions per se are mathematical objects. The second challenge arises out of inconsistent early calculus, which suggests that mathematical representation does not require rigorous mathematical structures. The third challenge comes from renormalisation group (...)
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  • Unification and mathematical explanation.Robert Knowles - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3923-3943.
    This paper provides a sorely-needed evaluation of the view that mathematical explanations in science explain by unifying. Illustrating with some novel examples, I argue that the view is misguided. For believers in mathematical explanations in science, my discussion rules out one way of spelling out how they work, bringing us one step closer to the right way. For non-believers, it contributes to a divide-and-conquer strategy for showing that there are no such explanations in science. My discussion also undermines the appeal (...)
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