A new article on my philosophy blog, for those of you who like such stuff 🙂
Is nature computable?
In the philosophy of science, one model to describe scientific explanations is what is known as the “DN” (deductive-nomological”) model introduced by philosophers Carl Hempel and Paul Oppenheim. According to this model, scientific explanations of a phenomenon (more specifically: a statement describing an observable phenomenon) E to be explained (the “explanandum”) consists of an enumeration of a number of laws L1, L2, … Lk and a number of initial conditions C1, C2, … Cr. The explanandum is then logically derived from the initial conditions and the laws.
One problem I see with this approach is that the feasibility of the derivation step is taken for granted. Hempel and Oppenheim seem to have assumed that you can just derive the explanandum E from the laws and initial conditions. But can you?
In physics, the laws would typically…
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