HPSM Lecture: Mark Colyvan (University of Sydney) – “Explanatory and Non-explanatory Proofs in Mathematics”

April 28, 2023
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Wilson Hall 104 (Danforth Campus)

“Explanatory and Non-explanatory Proofs in Mathematics”

Hosted by  History and Philosophy of Science & Medicine (HPSM)

Abstract: In this paper I look at the contrast between explanatory and non-explanatory proofs in mathematics. This is done with the aim of shedding light on what distinguishes the explanatory proofs. I argue that there may be more than one notion of explanation in operation in mathematics: there does not seem to be a single account that ties together the different explanatory proofs found in mathematics. I then attempt to give a characterisation of the different notions of explanation in play and how these sit with accounts of explanation found in philosophy of science.

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