Counterfactual Scheming

Mind 129 (514):535-562 (2020)

Abstract

Mathematics appears to play a genuine explanatory role in science. But how do mathematical explanations work? Recently, a counterfactual approach to mathematical explanation has been suggested. I argue that such a view fails to differentiate the explanatory uses of mathematics within science from the non-explanatory uses. I go on to offer a solution to this problem by combining elements of the counterfactual theory of explanation with elements of a unification theory of explanation. The result is a theory according to which a counterfactual is explanatory when it is an instance of a generalized counterfactual scheme.

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References found in this work

Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.
The Indispensability of Mathematics.Mark Colyvan - 2001 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Boris Kment - 2014 - Oxford University Press.

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