Christopher Pincock

in Mathematics and Scientific Representation

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199757107
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932313 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Science


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What does mathematics contribute to the success of science? This introductory chapter clarifies this problem and considers several strategies for solving it. Many philosophers opt for a pragmatic solution which emphasizes the convenience which mathematics brings to science. Others offer a metaphysical proposal in terms of the mathematical character of the physical world. Pincock pursues a broadly epistemic solution according to which mathematics contributes to our scientific knowledge by making it easier to confirm and disconfirm scientific representations. This can happen in several ways, which are outlined here.

Keywords: applications of mathematics; success of science; epistemic contributions; key claims

Chapter.  10565 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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