#### Title

Mathematical Explanation In Biology

#### Document Type

Book Chapter

#### Publication Date

2015

#### Published In

Explanation In Biology: An Enquiry Into The Diversity Of Explanatory Patterns In The Life Sciences

#### Abstract

Biology has proved to be a rich source of examples in which mathematics plays a role in explaining some physical phenomena. In this paper, two examples from evolutionary biology, one involving periodical cicadas and one involving bee honeycomb, are examined in detail. I discuss the use of such examples to defend platonism about mathematical objects, and then go on to distinguish several different varieties of mathematical explanation in biology. I also connect these discussions to issues concerning generality in biological explanation, and to the question of how to pick out which mathematical properties are explanatorily relevant.

#### Keywords

Mathematical explanation, Biology, Indispensability, Optimization

#### Published By

Springer Netherlands

#### Editor(s)

P.-A. Braillard And C. Malaterre

#### Recommended Citation

Alan Richard Baker.
(2015).
"Mathematical Explanation In Biology".
*Explanation In Biology: An Enquiry Into The Diversity Of Explanatory Patterns In The Life Sciences*.
Volume 11,
229-247.

https://works.swarthmore.edu/fac-philosophy/374