Typicality of Dynamics and Laws of Nature

Aldo Filomeno

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Certain results, most famously in classical statistical mechanics and complex systems, but also in quantum mechanics and high-energy physics, yield a coarse-grained stable statistical pattern in the long run. The explanation of these results shares a common structure: the results hold for a ‘typical’ dynamics, that is, for most of the underlying dynamics. In this paper I argue that the structure of the explanation of these results might shed some light—a different light—on philosophical debates on the laws of nature. In the explanation of such patterns, the specific form of the underlying dynamics is almost irrelevant. The constraints required, given a free state-space evolution, suffice to account for the coarse-grained lawful behaviour. An analysis of such constraints might thus provide a different account of how regular behaviour can occur. This paper focuses on drawing attention to this type of explanation, outlining it in the diverse areas of physics in which it appears, and discussing its limitations and significance in the tractable setting of classical statistical mechanics.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSynthese Library
    PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
    Number of pages28
    StatePublished - 2023

    Publication series

    NameSynthese Library
    ISSN (Print)0166-6991
    ISSN (Electronic)2542-8292


    • Laws of nature
    • Non-accidental regularities
    • Physical necessity
    • Stability
    • Statistical mechanics
    • Typicality


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