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Mathematical Explanations in Euler’s Königsberg

Räz, Tim (2014) Mathematical Explanations in Euler’s Königsberg. [Preprint]

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Abstract

I examine Leonhard Euler’s original solution to the Königsberg bridges problem. Euler’s solution can be interpreted as both an explanation within mathematics and a scientific explanation using mathematics. At the level of pure mathematics, Euler proposes three different solutions to the Königsberg problem. The differences between these solutions can be fruitfully explicated in terms of explanatory power. In the scientific version of the explanation, mathematics aids by representing the explana- torily salient causal structure of Königsberg. Based on this analysis, I defend a version of the so-called “Transmission View” of scientific expla- nations using mathematics against objections by Alan Baker and Marc Lange, and I discuss Lange’s notion of “distinctively mathematical expla- nations” and Christopher Pincock’s notion of “abstract explanations”.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Räz, Timtim.raez@gmail.com
Keywords: Euler; Königberg; Mathematical Explanation
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Mathematics
Depositing User: Tim Räz
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2014 17:31
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2014 17:31
Item ID: 11094
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Mathematics
Date: 2014
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11094

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