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Whose Devil? Which Details?

Belot, Gordon (2003) Whose Devil? Which Details? [Preprint]

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    Batterman has recently argued that fundamental theories are typically explanatorily inadequate, in that there exist physical phenomena whose explanation requires that the conceptual apparatus of a fundamental theory be supplemented by that of a less fundamental theory. This paper is an extended critical commentary on that argument: situating its importance, describing its structure, and developing a line of objection to it. The objection is that in the examples Batterman considers, the mathematics of the less fundamental theory is definable in terms of the mathematics of the fundamental theory and that only the latter need be given a physical interpretation---so we can view the desired explanation as drawing only upon resources internal to the more fundamental physical theory. (The paper also includes an appendix surveying some recent results on quantum chaos.)

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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Batterman; Semi-classical analysis; quantum chaos
    Subjects: General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
    Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
    Specific Sciences > Physics
    Depositing User: Gordon Belot
    Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2003
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:12
    Item ID: 1515

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