There Are No Mathematical Explanations

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Kuorikoski , J 2021 , ' There Are No Mathematical Explanations ' , Philosophy of Science , vol. 88 , no. 2 , pp. 189-212 .

Title: There Are No Mathematical Explanations
Author: Kuorikoski, Jaakko
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Practical Philosophy
Date: 2021-04-01
Language: eng
Number of pages: 24
Belongs to series: Philosophy of Science
ISSN: 0031-8248
Abstract: If ontic dependence is the basis of explanation, there cannot be mathematical explanations. Accounting for the explanatory dependency between mathematical properties and empirical phenomena poses insurmountable metaphysical and epistemic difficulties, and the proposed amendments to the counterfactual theory of explanation invariably violate core commitments of the theory. Instead, mathematical explanations are either abstract mechanistic constitutive explanations or reconceptualizations of the explanandum phenomenon in which mathematics as such does not have an explanatory role. Explanation-like reasoning within mathematics, distinction between explanatory and nonexplanatory proofs, and comparative judgments of mathematical depth can be fully accounted for by a concept of formal understanding.
611 Philosophy

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