Are There Category-Theoretical Explanations of Physical Phenomena?

  • Krzysztof WójtowiczEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Physics book series (SPPHY, volume 235)


The problem of mathematical explanations in science has been discussed extensively in the philosophical literature in recent years. This paper is devoted to the question of whether category theory can offer explanations of physical phenomena. My claim is that it cannot. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that CT contributes to our understanding of physics, therefore in this paper I discuss whether this fact can be accounted for in terms of explanatory value. I argue that investigating the (possible) explanatory virtues of CT is important for the discussion concerning mathematical explanations on an abstract level. So, it contributes not only to understanding the role of CT in physics, but also to elucidation of the notion of mathematical explanation in science.



The preparation of this paper was supported by an National Science Centre grant 2016/21/B/HS1/01955. I would like to thank Professor Zbigniew Semadeni for his very helpful comments.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LogicInstitute of Philosophy, Warsaw UniversityWarsawPoland

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