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Inference to the Best Explanation and Mathematical Realism

Sorin Ioan Bangu
Synthese
Vol. 160, No. 1 (Jan., 2008), pp. 13-20
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27653642
Page Count: 8
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Inference to the Best Explanation and Mathematical Realism
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Abstract

Arguing for mathematical realism on the basis of Field's explanationist version of the Quine—Putnam Indispensability argument, Alan Baker has recently claimed to have found an instance of a genuine mathematical explanation of a physical phenomenon. While I agree that Baker presents a very interesting example in which mathematics plays an essential explanatory role, I show that this example, and the argument built upon it, begs the question against the mathematical nominalist.

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