Should scientific realists be platonists?

Jacob Busch, Joe Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Enhanced Indispensability Arguments (EIA) claim that Scientific Realists are committed to the existence of mathematical entities due to their reliance on Inference to the Best Explana- tion (IBE). Our central question concerns this purported parity of reasoning: do people who defend the EIA make an appropriate use of the resources of Scientific Realism (in particular, IBE) to achieve platonism? (§2) We argue that just because a variety of different inferential strategies can be employed by Scientific Realists does not mean that ontological conclusions concerning which things we should be Scientific Realists about are arrived at by any inferen- tial route which eschews causes (§3), and nor is there any direct pressure for Scientific Real- ists to change their inferential methods (§4). We suggest that in order to maintain inferential parity with Scientific Realism, proponents of EIA need to give details about how and in what way the presence of mathematical entities directly contribute to explanations (§5).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-449
Issue number2
Early online date10 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • indispensability
  • platonism
  • inference to the best explanation
  • philosophy of science
  • philosophy of mathematics
  • scientific realism


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