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Nomic Vagueness

Chen, Eddy Keming (2020) Nomic Vagueness. [Preprint]

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Abstract

If there are fundamental laws of nature, can they fail to be exact? In this
paper, I consider the possibility that some fundamental laws are vague. I call this phenomenon nomic vagueness. I propose to characterize nomic vagueness as the
existence of borderline lawful worlds. The existence of nomic vagueness raises
interesting questions about the mathematical expressibility and metaphysical
status of fundamental laws.

For a case study, we turn to the Past Hypothesis, a postulate that (partially)
explains the direction of time in our world. We have reasons to take it seriously
as a candidate fundamental law of nature. Yet it is vague: it admits borderline
(nomologically) possible worlds. An exact version would lead to an untraceable
arbitrariness absent in any other fundamental laws. However, the dilemma
between nomic vagueness and untraceable arbitrariness is dissolved in a new
quantum theory of time’s arrow.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Chen, Eddy Kemingeddykemingchen@ucsd.edu0000-0001-5144-0952
Keywords: vagueness, exactness, higher-order vagueness, semanticism, epistemicism,imprecise probabilities, laws of nature, objective probabilities, time’s arrow, Past Hypothesis, entropy, fundamentality, Humeanism, anti-Humeanism, density matrix
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Logic
General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Mathematics
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Keming Chen
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2020 01:57
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2020 01:57
Item ID: 17289
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Logic
General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Mathematics
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: 7 June 2020
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17289

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