# MATHEMATICAL EXPLANATION AND INDISPENSABILITY ARGUMENTS

@article{Daly2009MATHEMATICALEA, title={MATHEMATICAL EXPLANATION AND INDISPENSABILITY ARGUMENTS}, author={Chris John Daly and Simon Langford}, journal={The Philosophical Quarterly}, year={2009}, volume={59}, pages={641-658} }

We defend Joseph Melia's thesis that the role of mathematics in scientific theory is to ‘index’ quantities, and that even if mathematics is indispensable to scientific explanations of concrete phenomena, it does not explain any of those phenomena. This thesis is defended against objections by Mark Colyvan and Alan Baker.

#### 46 Citations

Platonic Relations and Mathematical Explanations

- Philosophy
- 2020

Some scientific explanations appear to turn on pure mathematical claims. The enhanced indispensability argument appeals to these ‘mathematical explanations’ in support of mathematical platonism. I… Expand

Weaseling and the Content of Science

- Philosophy
- 2012

I defend Joseph Melia's nominalist account of mathematics from an objection raised by Mark Colyvan in his 'There is no easy road to nominalism' (Mind 119. 474, April 2010, 285?306).

On Mathematics’ ‘Indispensable Explanatory Role’∗

- 2014

The literature on the indispensability argument for mathematical realism often refers to mathematics’ ‘indispensable explanatory role.’ I argue that we should examine the notion of explanatory… Expand

On the ‘Indispensable Explanatory Role’ of Mathematics

- Philosophy
- 2016

The literature on the indispensability argument for mathematical realism often refers to the ‘indispensable explanatory role’ of mathematics. I argue that we should examine the notion of explanatory… Expand

Dynamical Systems Theory and Explanatory Indispensability

- Mathematics
- Philosophy of Science
- 2017

I examine explanations’ realist commitments in relation to dynamical systems theory. First I rebut an ‘explanatory indispensability argument’ for mathematical realism from the explanatory power of… Expand

The Applicability of Mathematics and the Indispensability Arguments

- Mathematics
- 2016

In this paper I will take into examination the relevance of the main indispensability arguments (Quine’s and Colyvan’s, Putnam’s, and explanatory indispensability argument) for the comprehension of… Expand

Mathematics and Program Explanations

- 2012

Aidan Lyon has recently argued that some mathematical explanations of empirical facts can be understood as program explanations. I present three objections to his argument.

Good weasel hunting

- Philosophy, Computer Science
- Synthese
- 2015

The purpose of this paper is to clarify Melia’s response to the indispensability argument and to advise Melia and his critics on how best to carry forward the debate. Expand

Indispensability and the problem of compatible explanations

- Philosophy, Computer Science
- Synthese
- 2015

It is argued that IBE cannot establish that any particular mathematical entity is indispensable, and nominalists can rebut the EIA while still accepting Baker’s form of IBE. Expand

Grounding and the indispensability argument

- Philosophy, Computer Science
- Synthese
- 2014

This paper proposes a neglected but promising response to the indispensability argument—a liberalized version of Field’s response—and discusses its significance, and uses grounding to reply to a recent challenge to these responses. Expand