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The effectiveness of mathematics in physics

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thesis
posted on 01.03.2017, 00:51 authored by McDonnell, Jane Frances
In this thesis I argue that many problems in the philosophy of science and mathematics (in particular, the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in physics) can only be addressed within a broader metaphysical framework which provides a coherent world view. I attempt to develop such a framework and draw out its consequences. The attempt is in two parts: first, I develop a speculative framework based on an analogy to set theory; then I combine elements of the framework with ideas from Leibnizian monadology and consistent histories quantum theory to introduce (what I call) quantum monadology. The two parts focus on different aspects of the problem and should be viewed as stages on the way to a final formulation. The inspiration for the thesis came from Plato’s Timaeus and Wigner’s comments on quantum mechanics. As it turned out, Leibniz’s Monadology became a third key source.

History

Principal supervisor

Graham Oppy

Year of Award

2015

Department, School or Centre

Philosophy, History and International Studies

Course

Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type

DOCTORATE

Campus location

Australia

Faculty

Faculty of Arts

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