How mathematics can make a difference

Sam Baron, Mark Colyvan, David Ripley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Standard approaches to counterfactuals in the philosophy of explanation are geared toward causal explanation. We show how to extend the counterfactual theory of explanation to non-causal cases, involving extra-mathematical explanation: the explanation of physical facts (in part) by mathematical facts. Using a structural-equation framework, we model impossible perturbations to mathematics and the resulting differences made to physical explananda in two important cases of extra-mathematical explanation. We then address some objections to our approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalPhilosophers Imprint
Volume17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

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