On the Application of the Honeycomb Conjecture to the Bee’s Honeycomb

Citation data:

Philosophia Mathematica, Vol: 21, Issue: 3, Page: 351-360

Publication Year:
2013
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Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/10918
Author(s):
Räz, Tim
Publisher(s):
Oxford University Press
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article description
In a recent paper, Aidan Lyon and Mark Colyvan have proposed an explanation of the structure of the bee’s honeycomb based on the mathematical Honeycomb Conjecture. This explanation has instantly become one of the standard examples in the philosophical debate on mathematical explanations of physical phenomena. In this critical note, I argue that the explanation is not scientifically adequate. The reason for this is that the explanation fails to do justice to the essentially three-dimensional structure of the bee’s honeycomb.