(2017) Synthese 194 (2).

A simple and interesting classical mechanical supertask

Jon Pérez Laraudogoitia

pp. 545-570

This paper presents three interesting consequences that follow from admitting an ontology of rigid bodies in classical mechanics. First, it shows (in Sects. 4 and 5) that some of the most characteristic properties of supertasks based on binary collisions between particles, such as the possibility of indeterminism or the non-conservation of energy, persist in the presence of gravitational interaction. This makes them gravitational supertasks radically different from those that have appeared in the literature to date. Second, Sect. 6 proves that the role of gravitation in supertasks of this kind may be highly non-trivial. Third, (in Sects. 7 and 8), the gravitational supertasks found in the first part enable us to show that indeterminism of classical mechanics with gravitation is much more general than has been supposed until now. This result is especially interesting from the philosophical viewpoint, as it links the scope of indeterminism in a theory like classical mechanics directly with the nature of its ontological hypotheses.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11229-015-0958-z

Full citation:

Pérez Laraudogoitia, J. (2017). A simple and interesting classical mechanical supertask. Synthese 194 (2), pp. 545-570.

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