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Evidence for the Deterministic or the Indeterministic Description? -- A Critique of the Literature about Classical Dynamical Systems

Werndl, Charlotte (2012) Evidence for the Deterministic or the Indeterministic Description? -- A Critique of the Literature about Classical Dynamical Systems. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    It can be shown that certain kinds of classical deterministic descriptions and indeterministic descriptions are observationally equivalent. In these cases there is a choice between deterministic and indeterministic descriptions. Therefore, the question arises of which description, if any, is preferable relative to evidence. This paper looks at the main argument in the literature (by Winnie, 1998) that the deterministic description is preferable. It will be shown that this argument yields the desired conclusion relative to in principle possible observations where there are no limits, in principle, on observational accuracy. Yet relative to the currently possible observations (the kind of choice of relevance in practice), relative to the actual observations, or relative to in principle observations where there are limits, in principle, on observational accuracy the argument fails because it also applies to situations where the indeterministic description is preferable. Then the paper comments on Winnie's (1998) analogy between his argument for the deterministic description and his argument against the prevalence of Bernoulli randomness in deterministic descriptions. It is argued that while there is indeed an analogy, it is also important to see that the arguments are disanalogous in another sense.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: Forthcoming in Journal for General Philosophy of Science
    Keywords: determinism, indeterminism, randomness, underdetermination, ergodic theory, stochatic processes, dynamical systems
    Subjects: General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
    Specific Sciences > Mathematics
    Specific Sciences > Physics
    Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
    Depositing User: Charlotte Werndl
    Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2012 11:25
    Last Modified: 25 Aug 2012 11:25
    Item ID: 9291
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9291

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