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MATHEMATICAL MODELS IN SCIENCE: A DEBATE ABOUT ONTOLOGY

Fahmi, Marco (2008) MATHEMATICAL MODELS IN SCIENCE: A DEBATE ABOUT ONTOLOGY. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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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.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Fahmi, Marco
Additional Information: Final version submitted for publication
Keywords: Mathematical realism, Indispensability argument, Mathematical models
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics
Depositing User: Marco Fahmi
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2008
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:16
Item ID: 3904
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/3904

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