Can mathematics explain physical phenomena?

Otávio Bueno, Steven French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Batterman ([2010]) raises a number of concerns for the inferential conception of the applicability of mathematics advocated by Bueno and Colyvan ([2011]). Here, we distinguish the various concerns, and indicate how they can be assuaged by paying attention to the nature of the mappings involved and emphasizing the significance of interpretation in this context. We also indicate how this conception can accommodate the examples that Batterman draws upon in his critique. Our conclusion is that 'asymptotic reasoning' can be straightforwardly accommodated within the inferential conception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-113
Number of pages29
JournalBritish Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Volume63
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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