Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Approximation and Idealization: Why the Difference Matters
John D. Norton,
CPS / Department of History and Philosophy of Science
University of Pittsburgh
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
::: photos and more
Abstract: It is proposed that we use the term “approximation” for inexact description of a target system and “idealization” for another system whose properties also provide an inexact description of the target system. Since systems generated by a limiting process can often have quite unexpected, even inconsistent properties, familiar limit processes used in statistical physics can fail to provide idealizations, but merely provide approximations.