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The Dome: An Unexpectedly Simple Failure of Determinism

John D. Norton
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 75, No. 5, Proceedings of the 2006 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science AssociationPart II: Symposia PapersEdited by Cristina Bicchieri and Jason Alexander (December 2008), pp. 786-798
DOI: 10.1086/594524
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/594524
Page Count: 13
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The Dome: An Unexpectedly Simple Failure of Determinism
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Abstract

Newton’s equations of motion tell us that a mass at rest at the apex of a dome with the shape specified here can spontaneously move. It has been suggested that this indeterminism should be discounted since it draws on an incomplete rendering of Newtonian physics, or it is “unphysical,” or it employs illicit idealizations. I analyze and reject each of these reasons.

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