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Euler's Königsberg: the explanatory power of mathematics

Räz, Tim (2017) Euler's Königsberg: the explanatory power of mathematics. European Journal for Philosophy of Science. ISSN 1879-4912

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Abstract

The present paper provides an analysis of Euler’s solutions to the Königsberg bridges problem. Euler proposes three different solutions to the problem, addressing their strengths and weaknesses along the way. I put the analysis of Euler’s paper to work in the philosophical discussion on mathematical explanations. I propose that the key ingredient to a good explanation is the degree to which it provides relevant information. Providing relevant information is based on knowledge of the structure in question, graphs in the present case. I also propose computational complexity and logical strength as measures of relevant information.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
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: 12 Mar 2018 04:23
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2018 04:23
Item ID: 14442
Journal or Publication Title: European Journal for Philosophy of Science
Publisher: Springer
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13194-017-0189-x
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Mathematics
Date: November 2017
ISSN: 1879-4912
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14442

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