[FOM] Mathematical explanation
paolo mancosu
mancosu at socrates.berkeley.edu
Tue Oct 25 13:09:52 EDT 2005
Unification theories of explanation (Kitcher and others) do not
appeal to counterfactuals. Such theories have been proposed in the
first place to account for explanations in the natural sciences but
they can also be applied to mathematics. Thus establishing the first
premise would at least require excluding that unifications are
explanations. In her book "Unifying scientific theories", Margaret
Morrison claims that unification and explanation often have little to
do with each other. Whether she is right or not is still open for
discussion. But even if she is right that would not establish premise
one. It would only show that unification theories cannot provide the
required counterexample.
>Well, here's a position that has at least the beneifit of clarity and
>brevity:
>
>No explanations without counterfactuals
>No counterfactuals without contingency
>All of Mathematics is necessary
>------------------------------
>No explanations in mathematics!
>
>
>I'm not saying i believe it, but finding the right place to pick holes
>might be a useful discipline.
>
>
>On Sun, 23 Oct 2005, paolo mancosu wrote:
>
>> I do agree with Richard Heck that we are not yet at
>> the stage where we can map a conceptual chart of
>> all the possible positions.
>
>
> URL: www.dpmms.cam.ac.uk/~tf Tel: +44-1223-337981
> (U Cambridge); +44-20-7882-3659 (QMW); +32-2-650-5853 (ULB)
>
>
>
>
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