Synthese 198 (3):2551-2612 (forthcoming)

Authors
Christian List
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Abstract
Scientists often think of the world as a dynamical system, a stochastic process, or a generalization of such a system. Prominent examples of systems are the system of planets orbiting the sun or any other classical mechanical system, a hydrogen atom or any other quantum–mechanical system, and the earth’s atmosphere or any other statistical mechanical system. We introduce a general and unified framework for describing such systems and show how it can be used to examine some familiar philosophical questions, including the following: how can we define nomological possibility, necessity, determinism, and indeterminism; what are symmetries and laws; what regularities must a system display to make scientific inference possible; how might principles of parsimony such as Occam’s Razor help when we make such inferences; what is the role of space and time in a system; and might they be emergent features? Our framework is intended to serve as a toolbox for the formal analysis of systems that is applicable in several areas of philosophy.
Keywords Dynamical systems  Stochastic processes  Nomological possibility and necessity  Determinism and indeterminism  Laws, symmetries, regularities  Scientific inference  Ergodicity  Occam's Razor  Space and time  Formal metaphysics
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Reprint years 2019
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02231-8
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References found in this work BETA

Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Aggregating Causal Judgments.Richard Bradley, Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (4):491-515.
Blocking an Argument for Emergent Chance.David Kinney - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 50 (5):1057-1077.

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