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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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Content and Confirmation

Content and Confirmation

(p.25) 2 Content and Confirmation
Mathematics and Scientific Representation

Christopher Pincock

Oxford University Press

This chapter clarifies two notions which are central to the book: the content of a scientific representation and how we can think of the confirmation of these representations. When mathematics is central to a representation a number of complications arise which are explored in this chapter. Pincock argues that the accuracy conditions of a representation can be understood in terms of the existence of a structural relation between a mathematical structure and a physical target system. This helps to clarify the process of confirming such representations. The second half of the chapter considers the prospects for applying confirmation theory to help with these questions and argues that there are systematic problems in dealing with how mathematics helps with confirmation.

Keywords:   representation, content, inference, Bayesian confirmation theory, problem of old evidence

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