David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In D. M. Borchert (ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy, second edition (2006)
A physical system has a chaotic dynamics, according to the dictionary, if its behavior depends sensitively on its initial conditions, that is, if systems of the same type starting out with very similar sets of initial conditions can end up in states that are, in some relevant sense, very different. But when science calls a system chaotic, it normally implies two additional claims: that the dynamics of the system is relatively simple, in the sense that it can be expressed in the form of a mathematical expression having relatively few variables, and that the the geometry of the system’s possible trajectories has a certain aspect, often characterized by a strange attractor.
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