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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One central sort of scientific representation aims to capture the causal interactions at work in a target system. After clarifying what the content of a causal representation might be, this chapter considers the benefits of acausal representations. These include a narrow focus on what is known about a system and what is believed to be relevant to the phenomenon of interest. After isolating acausal representations, Pincock argues that mathematics contributes to the formulation of these representations. This allows an argument that in these sorts of cases, mathematics helps us arrive at representations which are confirmed by the evidence we can collect.

Keywords: causation; mechanism; abstraction; confirmation

Chapter.  11055 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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