Defining chaos

Philosophy of Science 60 (1):43-66 (1993)

Abstract

This paper considers definitions of classical dynamical chaos that focus primarily on notions of predictability and computability, sometimes called algorithmic complexity definitions of chaos. I argue that accounts of this type are seriously flawed. They focus on a likely consequence of chaos, namely, randomness in behavior which gets characterized in terms of the unpredictability or uncomputability of final given initial states. In doing so, however, they can overlook the definitive feature of dynamical chaos--the fact that the underlying motion generating the behavior exhibits extreme trajectory instability. I formulate a simple criterion of adequacy for any definition of chaos and show how such accounts fail to satisfy it

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2009-01-28

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Robert W. Batterman
University of Pittsburgh

References found in this work

Chaos, Prediction and Laplacean Determinism.M. A. Stone - 1989 - American Philosophical Quarterly 26 (2):123--31.
Determinism, Predictability and Chaos.G. M. K. Hunt - 1987 - Analysis 47 (3):129 - 133.

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Citations of this work

Downward Causation in Fluid Convection.Robert C. Bishop - 2008 - Synthese 160 (2):229 - 248.
Emergence and Strange Attractors.David V. Newman - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (2):245-61.
Stability in Cosmology, From Einstein to Inflation.C. D. McCoy - 2020 - In Claus Beisbart, Tilman Sauer & Christian Wüthrich (eds.), Thinking About Space and Time. Cham: Birkhäuser. pp. 71-89.

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