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Fundamental Nomic Vagueness

Chen, Eddy Keming (2021) Fundamental 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 'fundamental nomic vagueness.' I characterize fundamental nomic vagueness as the existence of borderline lawful worlds and the presence of several other accompanying features. Under certain assumptions, such vagueness prevents the fundamental physical theory from being completely expressible in the mathematical language. Moreover, I suggest that such vagueness can be regarded as 'vagueness in the world.' 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 fundamental 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: Dr. Eddy Keming Chen
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2021 18:49
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2021 18:49
Item ID: 18734
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: 17 February 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18734

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