Ideas from 'Mathematical Explanation' by Mark Steiner [1978], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Philosophy of Mathematics: anthology' (ed/tr Jacquette,Dale) [Blackwell 2002,0-631-21870-x]].

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9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 3. Individual Essences
Particular essence is often captured by generality
                        Full Idea: Generality is often necessary for capturing the essence of a particular.
                        From: Mark Steiner (Mathematical Explanation [1978], p.36)
                        A reaction: The most powerful features of an entity are probably those which are universal, like intelligence or physical strength in a human. Those characteristics are powerful because they compete with the same characteristic in others (perhaps?).
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / e. Lawlike explanations
Maybe an instance of a generalisation is more explanatory than the particular case
                        Full Idea: Maybe to deduce a theorem as an instance of a generalization is more explanatory than to deduce it correctly.
                        From: Mark Steiner (Mathematical Explanation [1978], p.32)
                        A reaction: Steiner eventually comes down against this proposal, on the grounds that some proofs are too general, and hence too far away from the thing they are meant to explain.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / m. Explanation by proof
Explanatory proofs rest on 'characterizing properties' of entities or structure
                        Full Idea: My proposal is that an explanatory proof makes reference to the 'characterizing property' of an entity or structure mentioned in the theorem, where the proof depends on the property. If we substitute a different object, the theory collapses.
                        From: Mark Steiner (Mathematical Explanation [1978], p.34)
                        A reaction: He prefers 'characterizing property' to 'essence', because he is not talking about necessary properties, since all properties are necessary in mathematics. He is, in fact, reverting to the older notion of an essence, as the core power of the thing.