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Philosophy

Physical Sciences and Mathematics

2012

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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

The Reasonable Effectiveness Of Mathematics In The Natural Sciences, Nicolas Fillion Dec 2012

The Reasonable Effectiveness Of Mathematics In The Natural Sciences, Nicolas Fillion

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

One of the most unsettling problems in the history of philosophy examines how mathematics can be used to adequately represent the world. An influential thesis, stated by Eugene Wigner in his paper entitled "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences," claims that "the miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve." Contrary to this view, this thesis delineates and implements a strategy to show that the applicability of mathematics is very reasonable indeed.

I distinguish three forms of the ...