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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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Chapter:
(p.264) 13 Facades
Source:
Mathematics and Scientific Representation
Author(s):

Christopher Pincock

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199757107.003.0013

Mark Wilson’s book Wandering Significance: An Essay on Conceptual Behavior is considered in this chapter. Wilson argues that common views on mathematical and scientific concepts distort our understanding of scientific knowledge and representation. Pincock substantially agrees with Wilson and describes how the positions from earlier chapters can be adapted to fit with Wilson’s worries. At the heart of Wilson’s worries is a view of representations as made up of a collection of locally effective patches. Pincock explains how mathematics generates these patches and helps to link them together. The example of the development of the concept of Riemann surfaces is used to further clarify this picture of scientific representation and to vindicate a form of patient scientific realism.

Keywords:   concepts, semantic internalism and externalism, Riemann surface, historical development

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