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Getting the advantages of theft without honest toil: Realism about the complexity of (some) physical systems without realist commitments to their scientific representations.

Imbert, Cyrille (2014) Getting the advantages of theft without honest toil: Realism about the complexity of (some) physical systems without realist commitments to their scientific representations. [Preprint]

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Abstract

This paper shows that, under certain reasonable conditions, if the investigation of the behavior of a physical system is difficult, no scientific change can make it significantly easier. This impossibility result implies that complexity is then a necessary feature of models which truly represent the target system and of all models which are rich enough to catch its behavior and therefore that it is an inevitable element of any possible science in which this behavior is accounted for. I finally argue that complexity can then be seen as representing an intrinsic feature of the system itself.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Imbert, Cyrillecyrille.imbert@univ-lorraine.fr
Keywords: Computational Complexity Theory; Scientific realism & anti-realism; Scientific change; Inevitabilism vs contingentism; Impossibility result; Ising model; Lattice gazes; boundary layer theory; P-completeness; NP-completeness; Apparent epistemic complexity; Intrinsic irreducible complexity; Acceptable encoding/representation; Empirical Adequacy; Scientific models; Modeling;
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Condensed Matter
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Cyrille Imbert
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2014 15:01
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2014 22:36
Item ID: 10780
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Condensed Matter
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: March 2014
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/10780

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