PhilSci Archive

Idealization, Lossy Compression and the Laws of Physics

Wheeler, Billy (2015) Idealization, Lossy Compression and the Laws of Physics. [Preprint]

[img] PDF
Idealization,_Lossy_Compression_and_the_Laws_of_Physics.pdf

Download (551kB)

Abstract

It has been argued that the fundamental laws of physics do not face a ‘problem of provisos’ equivalent to that found in other scientific disciplines (Earman, Roberts & Smith, 2002). What is more, it has been said there is only the appearance of ‘exceptions’ to physical laws if they are confused with differential equations of evolution type (Smith, 2002). In this paper I argue that even if this is true, fundamental laws in physics still pose a major challenge to standard Humean approaches to lawhood, as they are not in any obvious sense about regularities in behaviour. A Humean approach to physical laws with exceptions is possible, however, if we adopt a view of laws that takes them to be the algorithms in the algorithmic compression of empirical data. When this is supplemented with a distinction between lossy and lossless compression, we can explain exceptions in terms of ‘compression artefacts’ present in the application of the lossy law.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Wheeler, Billybilly.wheeler@cantab.net
Keywords: laws of nature, ceteris paribus laws, idealization, best system account, data compression, algorithms, Humeanism, scientific fictions.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Computation/Information
Specific Sciences > Computer Science
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics
Depositing User: Dr. Billy Wheeler
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2015 01:26
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2015 01:26
Item ID: 11351
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Computation/Information
Specific Sciences > Computer Science
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics
Date: 28 February 2015
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11351

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item