How mathematics can make a difference

Journal article


Baron, Sam, Colyvan, Mark and Ripley, David. (2017) How mathematics can make a difference. Philosophers' Imprint. 17(3), pp. 1 - 19.
AuthorsBaron, Sam, Colyvan, Mark and Ripley, David
Abstract

Standard approaches to counterfactuals in the philosophy of explanation are geared toward causal explanation. We show how to extend the counterfactual theory of explanation to non-causal cases, involving extra-mathematical explanation: the explanation of physical facts (in part) by mathematical facts. Using a structural equation framework, we model impossible perturbations to mathematics and the resulting differences made to physical explananda in two important cases of extra-mathematical explanation. We address some objections to our approach.

Year2017
JournalPhilosophers' Imprint
Journal citation17 (3), pp. 1 - 19
PublisherUniversity of Michigan Press
ISSN1533-628X
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85018406072
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.3521354.0017.003
Open accessOpen access
Page range1 - 19
Research GroupDianoia Institute of Philosophy
Publisher's version
License
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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