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Applying Mathematics – Immersion, Inference, Interpretation - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Applying Mathematics: Immersion, Inference, Interpretation

Otávio Bueno and Steven French


What has been called ‘the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics’ sets a challenge for philosophers. Some have responded to that challenge by arguing that mathematics is essentially anthropocentric in character whereas others have pointed to the range of structures that mathematics offers. Here a middle way is offered that focuses on the moves that have to be made in both the mathematics and the relevant physics in order to bring the two into appropriate relation. This relation can be captured via the inferential conception of the applicability of mathematics which is formulated in terms of ... More

Keywords: application of mathematics, structure, mathematical optimism, idealization, unreasonable effectiveness

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780198815044
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198815044.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Otávio Bueno, author
Professor of Philosophy, University of Miami

Steven French, author
Professor of Philosophy of Science, University of Leeds