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Determinism, Causation, Prediction, and the Affine Time Group

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This contribution addresses major distinctions between the notions of determinism, causation, and prediction, as they are typically used in the sciences. Formally, this can be elegantly achieved by two ingredients: (i) the distinction of ontic and epistemic states of a system, and (ii) temporal symmetry breakings based on the mathematical concept of the affine time group. Key aspects of the theory of deterministically chaotic systems together with historical quotations from Laplace, Maxwell, and Poincare provide significant illustrations. An important point of various discussions in consciousness studies (notably about 'mental causation' and 'free agency'), the alleged 'causal closure of the physical', will be analysed on the basis of the affine time group and the breakdown of its symmetries.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology, Freiburg; Collegium Helveticum, Zurich., Email: haa@igpp.de

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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