What do patterns in empirical data tell us about the structure of the world?

Synthese 182 (1):73-87 (2011)
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This article discusses the relation between features of empirical data and structures in the world. I defend the following claims. Any empirical data set exhibits all possible patterns, each with a certain noise term. The magnitude and other properties of this noise term are irrelevant to the evidential status of a pattern: all patterns exhibited in empirical data constitute evidence of structures in the world. Furthermore, distinct patterns constitute evidence of distinct structures in the world. It follows that the world must be regarded as containing all possible structures. The remainder of the article is devoted to elucidating the meaning and implications of the latter claim



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James McAllister
Leiden University

References found in this work

Saving the phenomena.James Bogen & James Woodward - 1988 - Philosophical Review 97 (3):303-352.
Data and phenomena.James Woodward - 1989 - Synthese 79 (3):393 - 472.
Galileo and the Problem of Accidents.Noretta Koertge - 1977 - Journal of the History of Ideas 38 (3):389.

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