Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mathematics and Scientific Representation Update

As readers of this blog are already aware, for some time now I have been working on a book called Mathematics and Scientific Representation which aims to say something useful about how mathematics helps in science. This is a project which combines elements of the philosophy of mathematics with the philosophy of science and so will hopefully be of interest to both communities.

I have recently assembled the chapters into what is hopefully their final form. An outline of the project is available in a revised chapter 1. In the next few weeks, I hope to blog through the 12 key claims which I present at the end of this chapter. Comments and links to other ways of exploring these issues are especially welcome.


nwrickert said...

A quick comment, to let you know that I have been looking at your series on Mathematics and Scientific Representation, and at the chapter 1 manuscript.

I favor a fictionalist philosophy of mathematics, so I'll be looking to see what you say to the contrary when your series reaches that point.

Chris Pincock said...

Neil, Great, glad you have been checking it out. I may not have a chance to get into too much detail about fictionalism here soon, but you can check out my discussion of Mary Leng's recent book for the general flavor of my concerns.

nwrickert said...

Thanks for the reference.

It seems that my view of the relation between science and mathematics is quite different from either yours or Leng's.

Chris Pincock said...

Do you have anything written on this? I'd be interested in any "third alternative" to fictionalism and realism about math!

nwrickert said...

No, nothing written. I am thinking of posting some of it on my blog in the future. But it won't be an alternative to fictionalism or realism (platonism).

In the first paragraph of your book chapter, you say that "science is in the business of producing representations of the physical world." But that seems a better description of journalism than of science. I see mathematics fitting in the part of science that is missed by that way of looking at it.