Book ID: CBB915693097

Mathematics as a Tool: Tracing New Roles of Mathematics in the Sciences (2017)


Lenhard, Johannes (Editor)
Carrier, Martin (Editor)


Publication Date: 2017
Physical Details: 296
Language: English

This book puts forward a new role for mathematics in the natural sciences. In the traditional understanding, a strong viewpoint is advocated, on the one hand, according to which mathematics is used for truthfully expressing laws of nature and thus for rendering the rational structure of the world. In a weaker understanding, many deny that these fundamental laws are of an essentially mathematical character, and suggest that mathematics is merely a convenient tool for systematizing observational knowledge. The position developed in this volume combines features of both the strong and the weak viewpoint. In accordance with the former, mathematics is assigned an active and even shaping role in the sciences, but at the same time, employing mathematics as a tool is taken to be independent from the possible mathematical structure of the objects under consideration. Hence the tool perspective is contextual rather than ontological. Furthermore, tool-use has to respect conditions like suitability, efficacy, optimality, and others. There is a spectrum of means that will normally differ in how well they serve particular purposes. The tool perspective underlines the inevitably provisional validity of mathematics: any tool can be adjusted, improved, or lose its adequacy upon changing practical conditions.

Reviewed By

Review Arezoo Islami (2018) Review of "Mathematics as a Tool: Tracing New Roles of Mathematics in the Sciences". Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science (pp. 95-98). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Luzzini, Francesco
Lorenzo, Javier de
Omnès, Roland
Ostrovsky, Valentin N.
Jha, Stefania Ruzsits
Berson, Jerome A.
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
Perspectives on Science
Foundations of Chemistry
Science and Education
Cambridge University Press
Princeton University Press
Carocci Editore
Springer International
CSLI Publications
Philosophy of science
Mathematics and its relationship to science
Philosophy of mathematics
Pragmatism; instrumentalism
Bohr, Niels Henrik David
Lakatos, Imre
Polanyi, Michael
Popper, Karl Raimund
Árpád Szabó
Kekulé von Stradonitz, Friedrich August
Time Periods
21st century
20th century
20th century, late
18th century
17th century
19th century
United States

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