Tuesday, October 28, 2008

PSA Symposium: Applied Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science

As the final version of the PSA program is finally online, it is about time for me to promote the symposium that I will be in. Here are the details:

Applied Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science
PSA 2008 Symposium
Parallel Session 6: Saturday, November 8, 9-11:45 am
Room CCA (Conference Center A)
Chair: Paul Teller

Proposed schedule:
9:00-9:30 Christopher Pincock, “The Value of Mathematics for Scientific Confirmation”
9:30-10:00 Stathis Psillos, “What If There Are No Mathematical Entities? Lessons for Scientific Realism”
10:00-10:20 discussion
10:20-10:25 break
10:25-10:55 Mark Wilson, “Leibniz’ ‘Possibilities’ and Our Own”
10:55-11:25 Robert Batterman, “Essential Models and Explanatory Mathematics”
11:25-11:45 discussion

Abstract: This symposium will explore the relevance of philosophical reflection on the details of applied mathematics for current debates in the philosophy of science along four dimensions: (i) scientific representation, (ii) confirmation of scientific theories, (iii) idealization and scientific explanation, (iv) scientific realism. In all four cases the participants aim to show that a clear focus on the contribution that mathematics makes to science sheds new light on traditional positions in the philosophy of science. In some cases the viability of a philosophical view is called into question, while in others a standard thesis receives new support. The symposium is motivated by the realization that the philosophy of mathematics has changed considerably in the last twenty years and the hope that philosophers of science can benefit from this transformation.

For those of you who can't be there, here is a link to a rough draft of my paper. Constructive comments appreciated! Update (April 11, 2009): I have removed this old draft and hope to repost a final version sometime this spring.

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