Getting the advantages of theft without honest toil: Realism about the complexity of physical systems without realist commitments to their scientific representations


This paper shows that, under certain reasonable conditions, if the investigation of the behavior of a physical system is difficult, no scientific change can make it significantly easier. This impossibility result implies that complexity is then a necessary feature of models which truly represent the target system and of all models which are rich enough to catch its behavior and therefore that it is an inevitable element of any possible science in which this behavior is accounted for. I finally argue that complexity can then be seen as representing an intrinsic feature of the system itself.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,509

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

The Advantages of Honest Toil Over Theft.George Boohs - 1994 - In Alexander George (ed.), Mathematics and Mind. Oxford University Press. pp. 27.
What is a Complex System?James Ladyman, James Lambert & Karoline Wiesner - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (1):33-67.
The Advantage of Theft Over Honest Toil.Joseph Agassi - 2009 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (3):507-526.
Can Robots Make Good Models of Biological Behaviour?Barbara Webb - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (6):1033-1050.
Epistemic Conservatism: Theft or Honest Toil?Richard Fumerton - 2007 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology: Volume 2. Oxford University Press.


Added to PP

10 (#881,705)

6 months
1 (#417,896)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references