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Dynamical Systems Theory and Explanatory Indispensability

By Juha Saatsi


I examine explanations' realist commitments in relation to dynamical systems theory. First I rebut an 'explanatory indispensability argument' for mathematical realism from the explanatory power of phase spaces (Lyon and Colyvan 2007). Then I critically consider a possible way of strengthening the indispensability argument by reference to attractors in dynamical systems theory. The take-home message is that understanding of the modal character of explanations (in dynamical systems theory) can undermine platonist arguments from explanatory indispensability

Topics: Explanation, Mathematics, Models and Idealization, Realism/Anti-realism
Year: 2016
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Provided by: Philsci-Archive

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