Measures, explanations and the past: Should ‘special’ initial conditions be explained?

For the generalizations of thermodynamics to obtain, it appears that a very ‘special’ initial condition of the universe is required. Is this initial condition itself in need of explanation? I argue that it is not. In so doing, I offer a framework in which to think about ‘special’ initial conditions in all areas of science, though I concentrate on the case of thermodynamics. I urge the view that it is not always a serious mark against a theory that it must posit an ‘improbable’ initial condition. Introduction Price's objection What we want explained A range of unlikely initial conditions Brute facts and explanation The best-system analysis Explaining the past state Conclusion Appendix.
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/55.2.195
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Jill North (2010). An Empirical Approach to Symmetry and Probability. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 41 (1):27-40.
Jeremy Butterfield (2014). On Under-Determination in Cosmology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 46 (1):57-69.
Nina Emery (2013). Chance, Possibility, and Explanation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1):axt041.

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