The unreasonable effectiveness of abstract metaphysics

Nolan, Daniel (2015). The unreasonable effectiveness of abstract metaphysics. In Karen Bennett and Dean W. Zimmerman (Ed.), Oxford studies in metaphysics (pp. 61-88) Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198729242.003.0005

Author Nolan, Daniel
Title of chapter The unreasonable effectiveness of abstract metaphysics
Title of book Oxford studies in metaphysics
Place of Publication Oxford
Publisher Oxford University Press
Publication Year 2015
Sub-type Research book chapter (original research)
DOI 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198729242.003.0005
Open Access Status Not Open Access
ISBN 9780198729242
Editor Karen Bennett
Dean W. Zimmerman
Volume number 9
Chapter number 5
Start page 61
End page 88
Total pages 28
Total chapters 12
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract/Summary One common style of objection to a metaphysical theory is to claim that even if the metaphysical posits of that theory were correct, they would not explain the phenomena they were posited to explain. This chapter compares an early example of this sort of objection—found in some of Aristotle’s criticisms of the theory of Forms—with a more recent one—found in discussions of the so-called ‘Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics’. In both cases, it is hard to see how abstract objects, whether numbers or Forms, can help with our theorizing about concrete, particular, sensible objects. The chapter argues that there are important similarities in the answers available to defenders of the explanatory power of mathematics and Forms.
Keyword Abstract objects
Mathematical objects
Theory of Forms
Q-Index Code B1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

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Created: Fri, 29 Jan 2016, 14:06:18 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry