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On the Explanatory Role of Mathematics in Empirical Science

Batterman, Robert (2008) On the Explanatory Role of Mathematics in Empirical Science. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    This paper examines contemporary attempts to explicate the explanatory role of mathematics in the physical sciences. Most such approaches involve developing so-called mapping accounts of the relationships between the physical world and mathematical structures. The paper argues that the use of idealizations in physical theorizing poses serious difficulties for such mapping accounts. A new approach to the applicability of mathematics is proposed.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Mathematics, explanation, physics, applicability, Limits, Idealizations
    Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
    Specific Sciences > Mathematics
    Specific Sciences > Physics
    Depositing User: Robert Batterman
    Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2008
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:16
    Item ID: 4115
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/4115

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