Mathematical nominalism and measurement

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In this paper I defend mathematical nominalism by arguing that any reasonable account of scientific theories and scientific practice must make explicit the empirical non-mathematical grounds on which the application of mathematics is based. Once this is done, references to mathematical entities may be eliminated or explained away in terms of underlying empirical conditions. I provide evidence for this conclusion by presenting a detailed study of the applicability of mathematics to measurement. This study shows that mathematical nominalismmay be regarded as amethodological approach to applicability, illuminating the use of mathematics in science.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-73
Number of pages21
JournalPhilosophia Mathematica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2009

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