Christopher Pincock: Mathematics and Scientific Representation
We all have a sense of the success and indeed the power of mathematics in the way science explains the world. Science seems so reliant on mathematics that arguably a purely qualitative theory cannot be judged ‘scientific’ if it cannot be verified quantitatively. Science is so intricately bound-up with mathematics that we have to ask how the success of mathematics in science is possible; yet surprisingly the issue of math’s epistemic contribution doesn’t seem to have the prominence it perhaps deserves in the philosophy of science. The historian Morris Kline (1982) stated that the quest for certainty in the foundations of pure mathematics has not only (and necessarily) failed but has distracted the philosophy of mathematics away from the success of applied mathematics. Mathematics and Scientific Representationis a rare and fairly comprehensive philosophical account of the success of mathematics in science and after reading it you may be left with the impression that something like this...
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