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The Philosophy of Mathematical Practice$
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Paolo Mancosu

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199296453

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296453.001.0001

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The Boundary Between Mathematics and Physics

The Boundary Between Mathematics and Physics

Chapter:
(p.407) 15 The Boundary Between Mathematics and Physics
Source:
The Philosophy of Mathematical Practice
Author(s):

Alasdair Urquhart

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296453.003.0016

This chapter adopts the point of view that mathematical models in physics are mathematical constructs in their own right, often only loosely related to the phenomena they are designed to model. This is illustrated by the example of mean field models in statistical physics. It also emphasizes the difficulty in understanding these mathematical constructs because of the unrigorous methods employed by physicists in investigating their own constructions.

Keywords:   physics, models, mean-field, rigour

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