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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly


published on December 28, 2017

Stephen M. Barr

The Mathematization of Physics and the Neo-Thomism of Duhem and Maritain

Pierre Duhem and Jacques Maritain, influenced by positivist philosophies of science that prevailed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, adopted markedly non-realist views about the mathematical theories of the modern physical sciences. The philosophies of science they developed were a hybrid of Thomism and positivism. This paper argues that the ideas of Duhem and Maritain about the relation of the mathematical theories of modern physics to physical reality are inadequate in light of the insights modern physics has yielded about the physical world.

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