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The Silent Hexagon: Explaining Comb Structures

Räz, Tim (2017) The Silent Hexagon: Explaining Comb Structures. Synthese, 194. pp. 1703-1724. ISSN 1573-0964

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Abstract

The paper presents, and discusses, four candidate explanations of the structure, and construction, of the bees’ honeycomb. So far, philosophers have used one of these four explanations, based on the mathematical Honeycomb Conjecture, while the other three candidate explanations have been ignored. I use the four cases to resolve a dispute between Christopher Pincock (2012) and Alan Baker (2015) about the Honeycomb Conjecture explanation. Finally, I find that the two explanations focusing on the construction mechanism are more promising than those focusing exclusively on the resulting, optimal structure. The main reason for this is that optimal structures do not uniquely determine the relevant optimiza- tion leading to the optimal structure.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Räz, Timtim.raez@gmail.com
Keywords: Mathematical Explanation, Mechanistic Explanation, Optimization, Honeycomb
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Applicability
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Tim Räz
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2020 19:24
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2020 19:24
Item ID: 18318
Journal or Publication Title: Synthese
Publisher: Springer (Springer Science+Business Media B.V.)
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11229-0...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-016-1014-3
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Applicability
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 2017
Page Range: pp. 1703-1724
Volume: 194
ISSN: 1573-0964
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18318

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