Dynamical Systems Theory and Explanatory Indispensability

Philosophy of Science 84 (5):892-904 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

I examine explanations’ realist commitments in relation to dynamical systems theory. First I rebut an ‘explanatory indispensability argument’ for mathematical realism from the explanatory power of phase spaces (Lyon and Colyvan 2007). Then I critically consider a possible way of strengthening the indispensability argument by reference to attractors in dynamical systems theory. The take-home message is that understanding of the modal character of explanations (in dynamical systems theory) can undermine platonist arguments from explanatory indispensability.

Similar books and articles

How Not to Enhance the Indispensability Argument.Russell Marcus - 2014 - Philosophia Mathematica 22 (3):345-360.
Indispensability Without Platonism.Anne Newstead & James Franklin - 2012 - In Alexander Bird, Brian Ellis & Howard Sankey (eds.), Properties, Powers, and Structures: Issues in the Metaphysics of Realism. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 81-97.
A Truthmaker Indispensability Argument.Sam Baron - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):2413-2427.

Analytics

Added to PP
2017-01-10

Downloads
335 (#33,383)

6 months
30 (#35,805)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Juha Saatsi
University of Leeds

References found in this work

Science Without Numbers: A Defence of Nominalism.Hartry Field - 1980 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
Mathematical Explanation in Science.Alan Baker - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):611-633.
Constructibility and Mathematical Existence.Charles S. Chihara - 1990 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

View all 27 references / Add more references