The silent hexagon : explaining comb structures

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2017
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Synthese. 2017, 194(5), pp. 1703-1724. ISSN 0039-7857. eISSN 1573-0964. Available under: doi: 10.1007/s11229-016-1014-3
Zusammenfassung

The paper presents, and discusses, four candidate explanations of the structure, and construction, of the bees’ honeycomb. So far, philosophers have used one of these four explanations, based on the mathematical Honeycomb Conjecture, while the other three candidate explanations have been ignored. I use the four cases to resolve a dispute between Pincock (Mathematics and Scientific Representation, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012) and Baker (Synthese, 2015) about the Honeycomb Conjecture explanation. Finally, I find that the two explanations focusing on the construction mechanism are more promising than those focusing exclusively on the resulting, optimal structure. The main reason for this is that optimal structures do not uniquely determine the relevant optimization leading to the optimal structure.

Zusammenfassung in einer weiteren Sprache
Fachgebiet (DDC)
100 Philosophie
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Mathematical explanation, Mechanistic explanation, Optimization, Honeycomb
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ISO 690RÄZ, Tim, 2017. The silent hexagon : explaining comb structures. In: Synthese. 2017, 194(5), pp. 1703-1724. ISSN 0039-7857. eISSN 1573-0964. Available under: doi: 10.1007/s11229-016-1014-3
BibTex
@article{Raz2017-05silen-39145,
  year={2017},
  doi={10.1007/s11229-016-1014-3},
  title={The silent hexagon : explaining comb structures},
  number={5},
  volume={194},
  issn={0039-7857},
  journal={Synthese},
  pages={1703--1724},
  author={Räz, Tim}
}
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