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A new role for mathematics in empirical sciences

Kasirzadeh, Atoosa (2020) A new role for mathematics in empirical sciences. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Mathematics is often taken to play one of two roles in the empirical sciences: either it represents empirical phenomena, or it explains these phenomena by imposing constraints on them. This paper identifies a third and distinct role which has not been fully appreciated in the literature, and may be pervasive in scientific practice. I call this the “bridging” role of mathematics, according to which mathematics acts as a connecting scheme in our explanatory reasoning about why and how two different descriptions of an empirical phenomenon relate to each other. I discuss two bridging roles appearing in biological and physical explanations.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Kasirzadeh, Atoosaatoosa.kasirzadeh@mail.utoronto.ca
Additional Information: This paper is accepted for publication at the Philosophy of Science.
Keywords: Scientific Explanation Mathematical Explanation Applied Mathematics Applicability of Mathematics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Depositing User: Dr. Atoosa Kasirzadeh
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2020 03:24
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2020 03:24
Item ID: 18007
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Date: July 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18007

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