The Applicability of Mathematics in Science: Indispensability and Ontology

Palgrave-Macmillan (2012)
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Abstract

Suppose we are asked to draw up a list of things we take to exist. Certain items seem unproblematic choices, while others (such as God) are likely to spark controversy. The book sets the grand theological theme aside and asks a less dramatic question: should mathematical objects (numbers, sets, functions, etc.) be on this list? In philosophical jargon this is the ‘ontological’ question for mathematics; it asks whether we ought to include mathematicalia in our ontology. The goal of this work is to answer this question in the affirmative, by drawing on considerations on the the applicability of mathematics to natural science.

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Sorin Bangu
University of Bergen

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