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Do mathematical explanations have instrumental value?

Morris, Rebecca (2019) Do mathematical explanations have instrumental value? [Preprint]

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Abstract

Scientific explanations are widely recognized to have instrumental value by helping scientists make predictions and control their environment. In this paper I raise, and
provide a first analysis of, the question whether explanatory proofs in mathematics have analogous instrumental value. I first identify an important goal in mathematical practice: reusing resources from existing proofs to solve new problems. I then consider the more specific question: do explanatory proofs have instrumental value by promoting reuse of the resources they contain? In general, I argue that the answer to this question is "no" and demonstrate this in detail for the theory of mathematical explanation developed by Marc Lange.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Morris, Rebeccaemail@rebeccaleamorris.com0000-0002-1216-6900
Keywords: Mathematical explanation, Scientific explanation, Mathematical practice, Proof
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Practice
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Proof
Depositing User: Dr Rebecca Lea Morris
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2019 17:07
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2019 17:07
Item ID: 15668
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Practice
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Proof
Date: 2019
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15668

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