The Role of Mathematical Tools in Scientific Phenomenon Explanation – A Guarantee of Reliability or a Pillar of False Credibility?

  • Vladimir Drekalović
Keywords: mathematical explanation, indispensability of mathematics to science, Königsberg bridge problem, honeycomb problem, cicada’s case


Ever since its beginnings, mathematics has occupied a special position among all sciences, natural, as well as social sciences and humanities. It has not only provided a role model in terms of methodology, particularly when it comes to natural sciences, but other sciences have always relied on mathematics extensively both in their development and for solving various open questions. The beginning of the 21st century foregrounded the issue of the so-called explanatory role of mathematics in science. However, the reference literature features only a few examples as illustration of this role. This paper aims at showing that those examples, even though they are used for illustrating precisely the same purpose, also illustrate various explanatory scopes which mathematical tools can reach within a scientific explanation. Some of these examples also show how mathematics, unfortunately, provides false credibility to scientific explanations.