PhilSci Archive

The Ontological Commitments of Mathematical Models

Fahmi, Marco (2007) The Ontological Commitments of Mathematical Models. In: UNSPECIFIED.

WarningThere is a more recent version of this item available.
[img] Microsoft Word (.doc)
The_Ontological_Commitments_of_Mathematical_Models.doc

Download (82kB)

Abstract

Some philosophers of mathematics argue that the role of mathematical models in science is merely representational: when scientists use mathematical models they only believe that they are adequate representations of the physical phenomenon under investigation. Others disagree with this view and argue that mathematical models also serve as genuine explanations in science. Consequently, the application of mathematical models in science cannot be treated instrumentally and we ought to be realists about mathematics. I advance two reasons to reject realist conclusion: genuine mathematical explanations are indistinguishable from spurious ones. And, for mathematical models to be explanatory, they have to be “bottom-level”; I deny that we can know which explanations (if any) are bottom level in science. I contend that what plays the explanatory role is the impure function that links physical structures to mathematical structures.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Fahmi, Marco
Keywords: Mathematical realism, Indispensability argument, Mathematical models
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Mathematics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Marco Fahmi
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2007
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:15
Item ID: 3581
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/3581

Available Versions of this Item

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item