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Mathematics and Scientific Representation$
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Christopher Pincock

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199757107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199757107.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 Introduction
Source:
Mathematics and Scientific Representation
Author(s):

Christopher Pincock

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199757107.003.0001

What does mathematics contribute to the success of science? This introductory chapter clarifies this problem and considers several strategies for solving it. Many philosophers opt for a pragmatic solution which emphasizes the convenience which mathematics brings to science. Others offer a metaphysical proposal in terms of the mathematical character of the physical world. Pincock pursues a broadly epistemic solution according to which mathematics contributes to our scientific knowledge by making it easier to confirm and disconfirm scientific representations. This can happen in several ways, which are outlined here.

Keywords:   applications of mathematics, success of science, epistemic contributions, key claims

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