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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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Varying Interpretations

Varying Interpretations

(p.66) 4 Varying Interpretations
Mathematics and Scientific Representation

Christopher Pincock

Oxford University Press

Another kind of scientific representation is obtained when a scientist links representations using some shared mathematics. This sort of situation is quite different from the acausal representations treated in chapter 3. After considering some examples of these varying interpretations, Pincock argues that these sorts of representations also confer significant epistemic benefits. As mathematics is crucial to this success, we have another epistemic contribution from mathematics to the success of science. This raises the question of whether mathematics plays any special role in scientific discovery. Pincock argues that the toolkit of applied mathematics is useful for scientists to draw on in proposing new representations, but that this contribution is not mysterious.

Keywords:   abstraction, shared structure, confirmation, discovery, applied mathematics

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