Article ID: CBB001252296

The Vagueness of Wigner's Analysis (2011)


Gray, Jeremy (Author)

Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
Volume: 36, no. 3
Issue: 3
Pages: 214-228

Publication Date: 2011
Edition Details: Lead article in special issue, “Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics”
Language: English

I am going to argue that one unfortunate problem with Wigner's paper is its pervasive vagueness, indicate some of the problems this vagueness causes, and then analyse the problem on largely historical grounds insofar as we can see what it is. I will conclude that the paper does not help with the questions of what it means for physics to have laws and how we can know them, and I shall argue on historical grounds that the effectiveness of mathematics in physics may be less unreasonable than Wigner suggested but still be a profitable matter for investigation.


Description On a 1960 paper by Eugene Wigner on the relationship between mathematics and the physical sciences. Contents:

Includes Series Articles

Article Lützen, Jesper (2011) The Physical Origin of Physically Useful Mathematics. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (pp. 229-243). unapi

Article Suppes, Patrick (2011) Why the Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences Is Not Surprising. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (pp. 244-254). unapi

Article Baker, Alan (2011) Explaining the Applicability of Mathematics in Science. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (pp. 255-267). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Gingras, Yves
Kuusk, Piret
Bueno, Otávio
French, Steven
Ladyman, James
Davey, Kevin
Physics in Perspective
Science and Education
History of Science
Philosophy of Science
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Journal of Dialectics of Nature
Princeton University Press
Berzsenyi College
Cambridge University Press
Mathematics and its relationship to science
Philosophy of science
Quantum mechanics
Wigner, Eugene Paul
Einstein, Albert
Tausk, Klaus
Rosenfeld, Léon
Polanyi, Michael
Hume, David
Time Periods
20th century, late
20th century
20th century, early
18th century
17th century
19th century
Pisa (Italy)
Universität Dorpat

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