Synthese

, Volume 191, Issue 3, pp 459–479

Optimisation and mathematical explanation: doing the Lévy Walk

Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11229-013-0284-2

Cite this article as:
Baron, S. Synthese (2014) 191: 459. doi:10.1007/s11229-013-0284-2

Abstract

The indispensability argument seeks to establish the existence of mathematical objects. The success of the indispensability argument turns on finding cases of genuine extra-mathematical explanation (the explanation of physical facts by mathematical facts). In this paper, I identify a new case of extra-mathematical explanation, involving the search patterns of fully-aquatic marine predators. I go on to use this case to predict the prevalence of extra-mathematical explanation in science.

Keywords

Explanation Indispensability Lévy Optimisation Mathematics Platonism Nominalism 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Philosophical and Historical InquiryUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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