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The Metarepresentational Role of Mathematics in Scientific Explanations

McCullough-Benner, Colin (2021) The Metarepresentational Role of Mathematics in Scientific Explanations. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Several philosophers have argued that to capture the generality of certain scientific explanations, we must count mathematical facts among their explanantia. I argue that we can better understand these explanations by adopting a more nuanced stance toward mathematical representations, recognizing the role of mathematical representation schemata in representing highly abstract features of physical systems. It is by picking out these abstract but non-mathematical features that explanations appealing to mathematics achieve a high degree of generality. The result is a rich conception of the role of mathematics in scientific explanations that does not require us to treat mathematical facts as explanantia.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
McCullough-Benner, ColinC.M.McCullough-Benner@leeds.ac.uk
Keywords: Mathematical explanation, mathematical representation, scientific explanation, scientific representation, explanatory generality, indispensability argument
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Applicability
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Mathematics
Depositing User: Colin McCullough-Benner
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2021 21:14
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2021 21:14
Item ID: 19423
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Applicability
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Mathematics
Date: 8 August 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19423

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