Determinism and Indeterminism in Modern Science

Wesley C. Salmon

in Causality and Explanation

Published in print May 1998 | ISBN: 9780195108644
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833627 | DOI:
Determinism and Indeterminism in Modern Science

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Clarifies these two concepts that figure so prominently not only in discussions of free will but also in theories of scientific explanation. The question of the status of scientific explanation in an indeterministic world arises repeatedly in subsequent chapters of this book. Even if we do not yet have the final word on the truth or falsity of indeterminism, we need to take account of its possibility in framing philosophical theories of scientific explanations. This essay presents the “received philosophical opinion” on determinism, criticized by John Earman as confused and mistaken, and suggests ways to correct the most egregious errors of the received view.

Keywords: determinism; explanation; free will; indeterminism

Chapter.  13802 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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