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Dynamic and stochastic systems as a framework for metaphysics and the philosophy of science

List, Christian (2019) Dynamic and stochastic systems as a framework for metaphysics and the philosophy of science. Synthese. ISSN 0039-7857

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s11229-019-02231-8

Abstract

Scientists often think of the world (or some part of it) as a dynamical system, a stochastic process, or a generalization of such a system. Prominent examples of systems are (i) the system of planets orbiting the sun or any other classical mechanical system, (ii) a hydrogen atom or any other quantum–mechanical system, and (iii) the earth’s atmosphere or any other statistical mechanical system. We introduce a general and unified framework for describing such systems and show how it can be used to examine some familiar philosophical questions, including the following: how can we define nomological possibility, necessity, determinism, and indeterminism; what are symmetries and laws; what regularities must a system display to make scientific inference possible; how might principles of parsimony such as Occam’s Razor help when we make such inferences; what is the role of space and time in a system; and might they be emergent features? Our framework is intended to serve as a toolbox for the formal analysis of systems that is applicable in several areas of philosophy.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author
Divisions: Government
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 01 May 2019 08:12
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2019 23:07
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/100542

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