Randomness and probability in dynamical theories: On the proposals of the Prigogine school

Philosophy of Science 58 (2):241-263 (1991)
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I discuss recent work in ergodic theory and statistical mechanics, regarding the compatibility and origin of random and chaotic behavior in deterministic dynamical systems. A detailed critique of some quite radical proposals of the Prigogine school is given. I argue that their conclusion regarding the conceptual bankruptcy of the classical conceptions of an exact microstate and unique phase space trajectory is not completely justified. The analogy they want to draw with quantum mechanics is not sufficiently close to support their most radical conclusion.



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Robert W. Batterman
University of Pittsburgh

Citations of this work

Compendium of the Foundations of Classical Statistical Physics.Jos Uffink - 2005 - In Jeremy Butterfield & John Earman (eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Physics. Elsevier.
Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics Brussels–Austin Style.Robert C. Bishop - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (1):1-30.

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References found in this work

Statistical Explanation and Ergodic Theory.Lawrence Sklar - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 40 (2):194-212.

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