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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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The Rainbow

The Rainbow

Chapter:
(p.221) 11 The Rainbow
Source:
Mathematics and Scientific Representation
Author(s):

Christopher Pincock

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199757107.003.0011

Batterman has emphasized the importance of asymptotic explanation where the explanation involves taking limits. This chapter presents a detailed reconstruction of one such explanation. It involves the pattern of spacing of the supernumerary bows of a rainbow. Pincock essentially agrees with Batterman that this explanation is importantly different than some other kinds of explanation. Pincock tries to go further than Batterman in pinning down what beliefs about the rainbow are licensed by a form of inference to the best explanation. This illustrates a case of inference to the best explanation which involves mathematics, but which, in line with chapter 10, does not provide new evidence for the truth of mathematical claims.

Keywords:   supernumerary bows, asymptotic explanation, inference to the best explanation

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