Journal Article

Measures, Explanations and the Past: Should ‘Special’ Initial Conditions be Explained?

Craig Callender

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 55, issue 2, pages 195-217
Published in print June 2004 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online June 2004 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/55.2.195
Measures, Explanations and the Past: Should ‘Special’ Initial Conditions be Explained?

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For the generalizations of thermodynamics to obtain, it appears that a very ‘special’ initial condition of the universe is required. Is this initial condition itself in need of explanation? I argue that it is not. In so doing, I offer a framework in which to think about ‘special’ initial conditions in all areas of science, though I concentrate on the case of thermodynamics. I urge the view that it is not always a serious mark against a theory that it must posit an ‘improbable’ initial condition.

Introduction

Price's objection

What we want explained

A range of unlikely initial conditions

Brute facts and explanation

The best-system analysis

Explaining the past state

Conclusion

Appendix

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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