Journal Article

Has Chaos Been Explained?

Jeffrey Koperski

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 52, issue 4, pages 683-700
Published in print December 2001 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online December 2001 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/52.4.683
Has Chaos Been Explained?

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In his recent book, Explaining Chaos, Peter Smith presents a new problem in the foundations of chaos theory. Specifically, he argues that the standard ways of justifying idealizations in mathematical models fail when it comes to the infinite intricacy found in strange attractors. I argue that Smith's analysis undermines much of the explanatory power of chaos theory. A better approach is developed by drawing analogies from the models found in continuum mechanics.

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Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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