In Joseph K. Campbell (ed.), Freedom and Determinism. Cambridge Ma: Bradford Book/Mit Press. pp. 21--46 (2004)
The purpose of this paper is to give a brief survey the implications of the theories of modern physics for the doctrine of determinism. The survey will reveal a curious feature of determinism: in some respects it is fragile, requiring a number of enabling assumptions to give it a ﬁghting chance; but in other respects it is quite robust and very diﬃcult to kill. The survey will also aim to show that, apart from its own intrinsic interest, determinism is an excellent device for probing the foundations of classical, relativistic, and quantum physics. The survey is conducted under three major presuppositions. First, I take a realistic attitude towards scientiﬁc theories in that I assume that to give an interpretation of a theory is, at a minimum, to specify what the world would have to be like in order for the theory to be true. But we will see that the demand for a deterministic interpretation of a theory can force us to abandon a naively realistic reading of the theory. Second, I reject the “no laws” view of science and assume that the ﬁeld equations or laws of motion of the most fundamental theories of current physics represent science’s best guesses as to the form of the basic laws of nature. Third, I take determinism to be an ontological doctrine, a doctrine about the temporal evolution of the world. This ontological doctrine must not be confused with predictability, which is an epistemological doctrine, the failure of which need not entail a failure of determinism. From time to time I will comment on ways in which predictability can fail in a deterministic setting. Finally, my survey will concentrate on the Laplacian variety of determinism according to which the instantaneous state of the world at any time uniquely determines the state at any other time. The plan of the survey is as follows. Section 2 illustrates the fragility of determinism by means of a Zeno type example. Then sections 3 and 4 survey successively the fortunes of determinism in the Newtonian and the special relativistic settings..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Reconsidering Relativistic Causality.Jeremy Butterfield - 2007 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (3):295 – 328.
Initial Conditions and the 'Open Systems' Argument Against Laws of Nature.Clint Ballinger - 2007 - Metaphysica 9 (1):17-31.
Infinity, Relativity and Smoothness.Frank Arntzenius - 2006 - Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):1–16.
Similar books and articles
A Novel Interpretation of Plato's Theory of Forms.P. X. Monaghan - 2010 - Metaphysica 11 (1):63-78.
Quantum Chaos and Semiclassical Mechanics.Robert Batterman - 1992 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:50-65.
Shifting Frames: From Divided to Distributed Psychologies of Scientific Agents.Peter J. Taylor - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:304-310.
Commodification or Compensation: A Reply to Ketchum.H. M. Malm - 1989 - Hypatia 4 (3):128-135.
The Contemporary Significance of Confucianism.Tang Yijie & Yan Xin - 2008 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 3 (4):477-501.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads210 ( #19,178 of 2,178,178 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #112,524 of 2,178,178 )
How can I increase my downloads?