Zwischen berechenbarkeit und nichtberechenbarkeit. Die thematisierung der berechenbarkeit in der aktuellen physik komplexer systeme

Between Calculability and Non-Calculability. Issues of Calculability and Predictability in the Physics of Complex Systems. The ability to predict has been a very important qualifier of what constitutes scientific knowledge, ever since the successes of Babylonian and Greek astronomy. More recent is the general appreciation of the fact that in the presence of deterministic chaos, predictability is severely limited (the so-called ‘butterfly effect’): Nearby trajectories diverge during time evolution; small errors typically grow exponentially with time. The system obeys deterministic laws and still is unpredictable, seemingly a paradox for the traditional viewpoint of Laplacian determinisms. With the concept of deterministic chaos the epistemological issue about an adequate understanding of predictability is no longer just a mere philosophical topic. Physicists on the one hand recognize the limits of (long term) predictability, computability and even of scientific knowledge, on the other hand they work on concepts for extending the horizon of predictability. It is shown in this paper that physics of complex systems is useful to clarify the jungle of different meanings of the terms ‘predictability’ and ‘computability’ — also with philosophical implications for understanding science and nature. Today, from the physical point of view, the relevance of the concepts of predictability seems to be underestimated by philosophers as a mere methodological topic. In the paper I analyse the importance of predictability and computability in physics of complex systems. I show a way how to cope with problems of unpredictability and noncomputability. Nine different concepts of predictability and computability (i.e. open solution, sensitivity/chaos, redundancy/chance) are presented, compared and evaluated.
Keywords chaos theory  complex systems  computability  methodology  nonlinearity  predictability
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DOI 10.1023/A:1023296302464
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