Synthese 198 (Suppl 24):1-22 (2017)

Authors
James Nguyen
School of Advanced Study, University of London
Roman Frigg
London School of Economics
Abstract
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 and so there is no such thing as a solely mathematical account of a target system.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-017-1526-5
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References found in this work BETA

Science Without Numbers: A Defence of Nominalism.Hartry H. Field - 1980 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Representational Semantic Conception.Mauricio Suárez & Francesca Pero - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (2):344-365.
Can Somebody Please Say What Gibbsian Statistical Mechanics Says?Roman Frigg & Charlotte Werndl - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:1-27.
The Mathematical Stance.Alan Baker - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-18.
Structuralism and the Conformity of Mathematics and Nature.Noah Stemeroff - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 86:84-92.

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