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A Primer on Determinism : The Western Ontario Philosophy of Science - John Earman

A Primer on Determinism

The Western Ontario Philosophy of Science

Hardcover Published: 31st August 1986
ISBN: 9789027722409
Number Of Pages: 273

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The title of this work is to be taken seriously: it is a small book for teaching students to read the language of determinism. Some prior knowledge of college-level mathematics and physics is presupposed, but otherwise the book is suitable for use in an advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate course in the philosophy of science. While writing I had in mind primarily a philosophical audience, but I hope that students and colleagues from the sciences will also find the treatment of scientific issues of interest. Though modest in not trying to reach beyond an introductory level of analysis, the work is decidedly immodest in trying to change a number of misimpressions that pervade the philosophical literature. For example, when told that classical physics is not the place to look for clean and unproblematic examples of determinism, most philosophers react with a mixture of disbelief and incomprehension. The misconcep- tions on which that reaction is based can and must be changed.

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`...this book makes a useful contribution to the subject as a whole. It is well worth reading...'
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I. Introduction.- II. Defining Determinism.- 1. Classical Determinism: the Vision and the Context.- 2. What Determinism is Not: Cause and Effect.- 3. Predictability: Laplace's Demon.- 4. Predictability: Popper's Demon.- 5. Russell's Definition.- 6. What Determinism Is.- 7. Fear and Loathing.- 8. Democracy and Symmetry.- 9. Non-Laplacian Varieties of Determinism.- 10. Che Sara Sara.- 11. Deterministic Theories.- 12. Conclusion.- III. Determinism in Classical Physics.- 1. Classical Worlds.- 2. The Apparent Failure of Determinism in Leibnizian Physics.- 3. Leibniz's Response.- 4. Newtonian Space-time.- 5. Newtonian Particle Mechanics.- 6. Determinism at Bay.- 7. Determinism at Sea.- 8. Life Rafts.- 9. Infinite Billiards.- 10. Heat.- 11. Walling Out.- 12. Old Heat.- 13. Don't Fence Me In.- 14. Classical Electromagnetism.- 15. Shock(ing) Waves.- 16. Viscous fluids.- 17. Conclusion.- IV. Determinism in Special Relativistic Physics.- 1. Special Relativistic Worlds.- 2. Domains of Dependence.- 3. The Relativistic Formulation of Laplacian Determinism.- 4. Laplacian Determinism - At Last!.- 5. Higher Dimensions and Weak Solutions; Huygens' Principle.- 6. Domains of Prediction.- 7. Particle Motion: Retarded and Advanced Action-at-a-distance.- 8. Instantaneous Action-at-a-distance.- 9. Tachyons.- 10. Conclusion.- V. Determinism and Laws of Nature.- 1. Hume's Definitions of 'Cause'.- 2. The Naive Regularity Account.- 3. The Empiricist Constraints.- 4. Mill, Ramsey, and Lewis.- 5. Deductive Systematization: a Closer Look.- 6. Laws as Universal and Eternal Truths.- 7. Defeasibility and Degrees of Lawfulness.- 8. Challenges to the Regularity Account of Laws.- 9. Dispositions: the Garden Variety Type.- 10. Tooley's Case.- 11. Nomic Necessity.- 12. Laws as Contingent Relations Among Universais.- 13. Conclusion.- VI. Determinism, Mechanism, and Effective Computability.- 1. Turing Machines.- 2. Determinism and Effective Computability: First Try.- 3. Grzegorczyk Computability.- 4. Determinism and Effective Computability: Ordinary Differential Equations.- 5. Determinism and Effective Computability: Partial Differential Equations.- 6. Extended Computability.- 7. Generalized Computability.- 8. Objections; Church's Thesis Revisited.- 9. Conclusion.- VII. Determinism and Time Symmetries.- 1. The Received View.- 2. Time Translation Invariance.- 3. Recurrence: Conditional and Unconditional.- 4. Time Reversal Invariance.- 5. Time Reversal Invariance and Futuristic and Historical Determinism.- 6. Determinism Plus Time Translation Invariance Imply Periodicity.- 7. Mill, Russell, Feigl, and Nagel: Vindicated?.- 8. Mill, Russell, Feigl, and Nagel: Refuted?.- 9. Russell and Feigl: Defended.- 10. Mill, Russell, Feigl, and Nagel: Modified and Qualified.- 11. Preview: General Relativity and Time Symmetries.- VIII. Determinism, Randomness, and Chaos.- 1. Defining Randomness.- 2. Randomness, Disorder, and Computational Complexity.- 3. Biased Coins.- 4. Utter Chaos.- 5. Determinism and Performance Randomness.- 6. Physical Probabilities: Frequencies or Propensities?.- IX. Determinism, Instability, and Apparent Randomness.- 1. Stability and Instability for Fields.- 2. Classical Dynamical Systems.- 3. Macro-randomness: What We Want.- 4. Macro-randomness: Can We Have What We Want?.- 5. Instability in Classical Particle Systems.- 6. Strange Attractors.- 7. Conclusion.- Appendix: the Baker's Transformation.- X. Determinism in General Relativistic Physics.- 1. General Relativistic Worlds.- 2. Time Slices.- 3. Partitioning by Time Slices.- 4. Causality Conditions.- 5. The Status of Causality Conditions.- 6. Cauchy Surfaces.- 7. The Cauchy Initial Value Problem.- 8. The Significance of the Cauchy Initial Value Problem.- 9. Laplacian Determinism in the Medium and the Small.- 10. Singularities.- 11. Cosmic Censorship.- 12. Prediction.- 13. Geometrodynamics.- 14. The Characteristic Initial Value Problem.- 15. Conclusion.- XI. Determinism in Quantum Physics.- 1. Quantum Mechanics as More Deterministic than Classical Mechanics.- 2. The Quantum State: a Closer Look.- 3. The Projection Postulate.- 4. The Incompleteness of Quantum Mechanics: Joint Probabilities.- 5. The Theorems of Gleason and Kochen-Specker.- 6. Bell's Theorem.- 7. Realism and the Incompleteness of Quantum Mechanics.- 8. The Problem of Measurement.- 9. The Insolubility of the Measurement Problem.- 10. Determinism and Quantum Mechanics.- 11. Indeterminism, Randomness, and Stochasticity.- 12. Conclusion.- XII. Determinism and Free Will.- 1. Moral and Legal Responsibility and the Compatibilist Position.- 2. Tropisms.- 3. Indeterministic Actions and the Possibility of a Science of Human Behavior.- 4. Conclusion.- Final Exam.- Index of Names.

ISBN: 9789027722409
ISBN-10: 9027722404
Series: The Western Ontario Philosophy of Science
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 273
Published: 31st August 1986
Country of Publication: NL
Dimensions (cm): 23.39 x 15.6  x 1.75
Weight (kg): 0.59

Earn 678 Qantas Points
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