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John A. Winnie
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 59, No. 2 (Jun., 1992), pp. 263-275
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/188246
Page Count: 13
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Some irrational numbers are "random" in a sense which implies that no algorithm can compute their decimal expansions to an arbitrarily high degree of accuracy. This feature of (most) irrational numbers has been claimed to be at the heart of the deterministic, but chaotic, behavior exhibited by many nonlinear dynamical systems. In this paper, a number of now classical chaotic systems are shown to remain chaotic when their domains are restricted to the computable real numbers, providing counterexamples to the above claim. More fundamentally, the randomness view of chaos is shown to be based upon a confusion between a chaotic function on a phase space and its numerical representation in Rn.
Philosophy of Science © 1992 The University of Chicago Press