The best mathematical proofs tell us why some mathematical fact holds, not simply that it holds. But to understand how one piece of mathematics explains another piece of mathematics is poorly understood. Mathematics may also be involved in explaining facts outside mathematics. Examples include empirical phenomenon such as the existence of certain weather patters, the shape of the cells in bee hives, and the impossibility of certain population cycles in ecology. This project will advance a new theory of mathematical explanation, for both internal mathematical purposes and for extra-mathematical explanations. Applications to conservation biology and conservation management will be developed.
This project is funded by the Australian Research Council (grant number: FT110100909).
Mark Colyvan (Philosophy, University of Sydney)
Sam Baron (Philosophy, University of Sydney)
David Ripley (Philosophy, University of Connecticut)