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  1. Intrinsic Explanation and Field’s Dispensabilist Strategy.Russell Marcus - 2013 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 21 (2):163-183.
    Philosophy of mathematics for the last half-century has been dominated in one way or another by Quine’s indispensability argument. The argument alleges that our best scientific theory quantifies over, and thus commits us to, mathematical objects. In this paper, I present new considerations which undermine the most serious challenge to Quine’s argument, Hartry Field’s reformulation of Newtonian Gravitational Theory.
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  • Aristotelian Realism.James Franklin - 2009 - In A. Irvine (ed.), The Philosophy of Mathematics (Handbook of the Philosophy of Science series). North-Holland Elsevier.
    Aristotelian, or non-Platonist, realism holds that mathematics is a science of the real world, just as much as biology or sociology are. Where biology studies living things and sociology studies human social relations, mathematics studies the quantitative or structural aspects of things, such as ratios, or patterns, or complexity, or numerosity, or symmetry. Let us start with an example, as Aristotelians always prefer, an example that introduces the essential themes of the Aristotelian view of mathematics. A typical mathematical truth is (...)
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  • Structure and applied mathematics.Travis McKenna - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-31.
    ‘Mapping accounts’ of applied mathematics hold that the application of mathematics in physical science is best understood in terms of ‘mappings’ between mathematical structures and physical structures. In this paper, I suggest that mapping accounts rely on the assumption that the mathematics relevant to any application of mathematics in empirical science can be captured in an appropriate mathematical structure. If we are interested in assessing the plausibility of mapping accounts, we must ask ourselves: how plausible is this assumption as a (...)
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  • Representational Indispensability and Ontological Commitment.John Heron - 2020 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 9 (2):105-114.
    Recent debates about mathematical ontology are guided by the view that Platonism's prospects depend on mathematics' explanatory role in science. If mathematics plays an explanatory role, and in the right kind of way, this carries ontological commitment to mathematical objects. Conversely, the assumption goes, if mathematics merely plays a representational role then our world-oriented uses of mathematics fail to commit us to mathematical objects. I argue that it is a mistake to think that mathematical representation is necessarily ontologically innocent and (...)
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  • How Do You Apply Mathematics?Graham Priest - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-16.
    As far as disputes in the philosophy of pure mathematics goes, these are usually between classical mathematics, intuitionist mathematics, paraconsistent mathematics, and so on. My own view is that of a mathematical pluralist: all these different kinds of mathematics are equally legitimate. Applied mathematics is a different matter. In this, a piece of pure mathematics is applied in an empirical area, such as physics, biology, or economics. There can then certainly be a disputes about what the correct pure mathematics to (...)
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  • Epistemic Artifacts and the Modal Dimension of Modeling.Tarja Knuuttila - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-18.
    The epistemic value of models has traditionally been approached from a representational perspective. This paper argues that the artifactual approach evades the problem of accounting for representation and better accommodates the modal dimension of modeling. From an artifactual perspective, models are viewed as erotetic vehicles constrained by their construction and available representational tools. The modal dimension of modeling is approached through two case studies. The first portrays mathematical modeling in economics, while the other discusses the modeling practice of synthetic biology, (...)
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  • The Propensity Interpretation of Probability: A Re-Evaluation.Joseph Berkovitz - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):629-711.
    Single-case and long-run propensity theories are among the main objective interpretations of probability. There have been various objections to these theories, e.g. that it is difficult to explain why propensities should satisfy the probability axioms and, worse, that propensities are at odds with these axioms, that the explication of propensities is circular and accordingly not informative, and that single-case propensities are metaphysical and accordingly non-scientific. We consider various propensity theories of probability and their prospects in light of these objections. We (...)
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  • An Inferential Conception of the Application of Mathematics.Otávio Bueno & Mark Colyvan - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):345-374.
    A number of people have recently argued for a structural approach to accounting for the applications of mathematics. Such an approach has been called "the mapping account". According to this view, the applicability of mathematics is fully accounted for by appreciating the relevant structural similarities between the empirical system under study and the mathematics used in the investigation ofthat system. This account of applications requires the truth of applied mathematical assertions, but it does not require the existence of mathematical objects. (...)
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  • Direct and converse applications: Two sides of the same coin?Daniele Molinini - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (1):1-21.
    In this paper I present two cases, taken from the history of science, in which mathematics and physics successfully interplay. These cases provide, respectively, an example of the successful application of mathematics in astronomy and an example of the successful application of mechanics in mathematics. I claim that an illustration of these cases has a twofold value in the context of the applicability debate. First, it enriches the debate with an historical perspective which is largely omitted in the contemporary discussion. (...)
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  • Solutions in Constructive Field Theory.Leif Hancox-Li - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):335-358.
    Constructive field theory aims to rigorously construct concrete, nontrivial solutions to Lagrangians used in particle physics. I examine the relationship of solutions in constructive field theory to both axiomatic and Lagrangian quantum field theory. I argue that Lagrangian QFT provides conditions for what counts as a successful constructive solution and other information that guides constructive field theorists to solutions. Solutions matter because they describe the behavior of QFT systems and thus what QFT says the world is like. Constructive field theory (...)
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  • The Applicability of Mathematics: Beyond Mapping Accounts.Davide Rizza - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (3):398-412.
    In this article, I argue that mapping-based accounts of applications cannot be comprehensive and must be supplemented by analyses of other, qualitatively different, forms of application. I support these claims by providing a detailed discussion of the application of mathematics to a problem of election design that is prominent in social choice theory.
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  • A Revealing Flaw in Colyvan's Indispensability Argument.Christopher Pincock† - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (1):61-79.
    Mark Colyvan uses applications of mathematics to argue that mathematical entities exist. I claim that his argument is invalid based on the assumption that a certain way of thinking about applications, called `the mapping account,' is correct. My main contention is that successful applications depend only on there being appropriate structural relations between physical situations and the mathematical domain. As a variety of non-realist interpretations of mathematics deliver these structural relations, indispensability arguments are invalid.
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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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  • Models, Fictions and Artifacts.Tarja Knuuttila - 2021 - In Wenceslao J. Gonzalez (ed.), Language and Scientific Research. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 199-22.
    This paper discusses modeling from the artifactual perspective. The artifactual approach conceives models as erotetic devices. They are purpose-built systems of dependencies that are constrained in view of answering a pending scientific question, motivated by theoretical or empirical considerations. In treating models as artifacts, the artifactual approach is able to address the various languages of sciences that are overlooked by the traditional accounts that concentrate on the relationship of representation in an abstract and general manner. In contrast, the artifactual approach (...)
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  • Indispensability and Explanation: An Overview and Introduction.Daniele Molinini, Fabrice Pataut & Andrea Sereni - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2):317-332.
  • Mathematics and the World: Explanation and Representation.John-Hamish Heron - 2017 - Dissertation, King’s College London
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  • Wigner’s Puzzle on Applicability of Mathematics: On What Table to Assemble It?Cătălin Bărboianu - 2020 - Axiomathes 30 (4):423-452.
    Attempts at solving what has been labeled as Eugene Wigner’s puzzle of applicability of mathematics are still far from arriving at an acceptable solution. The accounts developed to explain the “miracle” of applied mathematics vary in nature, foundation, and solution, from denying the existence of a genuine problem to designing structural theories based on mathematical formalism. Despite this variation, all investigations treated the problem in a unitary way with respect to the target, pointing to one or two ‘why’ or ‘how’ (...)
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  • Mathematical Models of Games of Chance: Epistemological Taxonomy and Potential in Problem-Gambling Research.Catalin Barboianu - 2015 - UNLV Gaming Research and Review Journal 19 (1):17-30.
    Games of chance are developed in their physical consumer-ready form on the basis of mathematical models, which stand as the premises of their existence and represent their physical processes. There is a prevalence of statistical and probabilistic models in the interest of all parties involved in the study of gambling – researchers, game producers and operators, and players – while functional models are of interest more to math-inclined players than problem-gambling researchers. In this paper I present a structural analysis of (...)
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  • Sobre el colapso de las estructuras matemáticas Y físicas en el realismo estructural óntico.Cristian Soto - 2019 - Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 60 (143):279-295.
    RESUMEN La sección 1 introduce lo que llamo la tesis del colapso de las estructuras matemáticas y las estructuras físicas. La sección 2 examina si acaso la indispensabilidad de las matemáticas para la física fundamental involucra la adopción del platonismo matemático, en este caso acerca de estructuras matemáticas, como argumenta el realismo estructural óntico. La sección 3 muestra que la adopción de la tesis del colapso arriesga introducir la hipótesis del universo matemático. Desde la perspectiva de la concepción inferencial en (...)
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  • Mathematical Explanation by Law.Sam Baron - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):683-717.
    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 (...)
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  • How Not to Enhance the Indispensability Argument.Russell Marcus - 2014 - Philosophia Mathematica 22 (3):345-360.
    The new explanatory or enhanced indispensability argument alleges that our mathematical beliefs are justified by their indispensable appearances in scientific explanations. This argument differs from the standard indispensability argument which focuses on the uses of mathematics in scientific theories. I argue that the new argument depends for its plausibility on an equivocation between two senses of explanation. On one sense the new argument is an oblique restatement of the standard argument. On the other sense, it is vulnerable to an instrumentalist (...)
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  • Torsten Wilholt, Zahl Und Wirklichkeit: Eine Philosophische Untersuchung Über Die Anwendbarkeit der Mathematik [Number and Reality: A Philosophical Investigation of the Applicability of Mathematics]. Paderborn: Mentis, 2004. Pp. 309. ISBN 3-89785-368-X. [REVIEW]Christopher Pincock - 2005 - Philosophia Mathematica 13 (3):329-337.
  • Extending Hartry Field's Instrumental Account of Applied Mathematics to Statistical Mechanics.Glen Meyer - 2009 - Philosophia Mathematica 17 (3):273-312.
    A serious flaw in Hartry Field’s instrumental account of applied mathematics, namely that Field must overestimate the extent to which many of the structures of our mathematical theories are reflected in the physical world, underlies much of the criticism of this account. After reviewing some of this criticism, I illustrate through an examination of the prospects for extending Field’s account to classical equilibrium statistical mechanics how this flaw will prevent any significant extension of this account beyond field theories. I note (...)
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  • Psa 2018.Philsci-Archive -Preprint Volume- - unknown
    These preprints were automatically compiled into a PDF from the collection of papers deposited in PhilSci-Archive in conjunction with the PSA 2018.
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  • The Reasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences.Nicolas Fillion - unknown
    One of the most unsettling problems in the history of philosophy examines how mathematics can be used to adequately represent the world. An influential thesis, stated by Eugene Wigner in his paper entitled "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences," claims that "the miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve." Contrary to this view, this thesis delineates and implements (...)
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  • Can We Have Mathematical Understanding of Physical Phenomena?Gabriel Târziu - 2018 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 33 (1):91-109.
    Can mathematics contribute to our understanding of physical phenomena? One way to try to answer this question is by getting involved in the recent philosophical dispute about the existence of mathematical explanations of physical phenomena. If there is such a thing, given the relation between explanation and understanding, we can say that there is an affirmative answer to our question. But what if we do not agree that mathematics can play an explanatory role in science? Can we still consider that (...)
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  • Applying Unrigorous Mathematics: Heaviside's Operational Calculus.Colin McCullough-Benner - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 91:113-124.
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  • Structures in Real Theory Application: A Study in Feasible Epistemology.Robert H. C. Moir - unknown
    This thesis considers the following problem: What methods should the epistemology of science use to gain insight into the structure and behaviour of scientific knowledge and method in actual scientific practice? After arguing that the elucidation of epistemological and methodological phenomena in science requires a method that is rooted in formal methods, I consider two alternative methods for epistemology of science. One approach is the classical approaches of the syntactic and semantic views of theories. I show that typical approaches of (...)
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  • Mathematics is Not the Only Language in the Book of Nature.James Nguyen & Roman Frigg - 2017 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 24):1-22.
    How does mathematics apply to something non-mathematical? We distinguish between a general application problem and a special application problem. A critical examination of the answer that structural mapping accounts offer to the former problem leads us to identify a lacuna in these accounts: they have to presuppose that target systems are structured and yet leave this presupposition unexplained. We propose to fill this gap with an account that attributes structures to targets through structure generating descriptions. These descriptions are physical descriptions (...)
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  • Lost on the Way From Frege to Carnap: How the Philosophy of Science Forgot the Applicability Problem.Torsten Wilholt - 2006 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 73 (1):69-82.
    This paper offers an explanation of how philosophy of science in the second half of the 20th century came to be so conspicuously silent on the problem of how to explain the applicability of mathematics. It examines the idea of the early logicists that the analyticity of mathematics accounts for its applicability, and how this idea was transformed during Carnap's efforts to establish a consistent and substantial philosophy of mathematics within the larger framework of Logical Empiricism. I argue that at (...)
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  • On Batterman's 'On the Explanatory Role of Mathematics in Empirical Science'.Christopher Pincock - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):211 - 217.
    This discussion note of (Batterman [2010]) clarifies the modest aims of my 'mapping account' of applications of mathematics in science. Once these aims are clarified it becomes clear that Batterman's 'completely new approach' (Batterman [2010], p. 24) is not needed to make sense of his cases of idealized mathematical explanations. Instead, a positive proposal for the explanatory power of such cases can be reconciled with the mapping account.
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  • The Nature of the Structures of Applied Mathematics and the Metatheoretical Justification for the Mathematical Modeling.Catalin Barboianu - 2015 - Romanian Journal of Analytic Philosophy 9 (2):1-32.
    The classical (set-theoretic) concept of structure has become essential for every contemporary account of a scientific theory, but also for the metatheoretical accounts dealing with the adequacy of such theories and their methods. In the latter category of accounts, and in particular, the structural metamodels designed for the applicability of mathematics have struggled over the last decade to justify the use of mathematical models in sciences beyond their 'indispensability' in terms of either method or concepts/entities. In this paper, I argue (...)
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  • The "Unreasonable" Effectiveness of Mathematics: The Foundational Approach of the Theoretic Alternatives.Catalin Barboianu - 2015 - Revista de Filosofie 62 (1):58-71.
    The attempts of theoretically solving the famous puzzle-dictum of physicist Eugene Wigner regarding the “unreasonable” effectiveness of mathematics as a problem of analytical philosophy, started at the end of the 19th century, are yet far from coming out with an acceptable theoretical solution. The theories developed for explaining the empirical “miracle” of applied mathematics vary in nature, foundation and solution, from denying the existence of a genuine problem to structural theories with an advanced level of mathematical formalism. Despite this variation, (...)
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  • Wigner’s Puzzle on Applicability of Mathematics: On What Table to Assemble It?Cătălin Bărboianu - 2019 - Axiomathes 1:1-30.
    Attempts at solving what has been labeled as Eugene Wigner’s puzzle of applicability of mathematics are still far from arriving at an acceptable solution. The accounts developed to explain the “miracle” of applied mathematics vary in nature, foundation, and solution, from denying the existence of a genuine problem to designing structural theories based on mathematical formalism. Despite this variation, all investigations treated the problem in a unitary way with respect to the target, pointing to one or two ‘why’ or ‘how’ (...)
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  • The Applicability of Mathematics to Physical Modality.Nora Berenstain - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3361-3377.
    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 (...)
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  • Inferential Power, Formalisms, and Scientific Models.Vincent Ardourel, Anouk Barberousse & Cyrille Imbert - unknown
    Scientific models need to be investigated if they are to provide valuable information about the systems they represent. Surprisingly, the epistemological question of what enables this investigation has hardly been investigated. Even authors who consider the inferential role of models as central, like Hughes or Bueno and Colyvan, content themselves with claiming that models contain mathematical resources that provide inferential power. We claim that these notions require further analysis and argue that mathematical formalisms contribute to this inferential role. We characterize (...)
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  • Explaining Mathematical Explanation.Sam Baron - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (264):458-480.
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