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Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.

Mpantes

DETERMINISM AS AN OPERATIONAL CONCEPT


(mechanics, quantum mechanics and chaos)

George Mpantes mathematics teacher

www.mpantes.gr

Abstract .
In this article, the characterization of a theory as determinist, is defined by the
predictability that produces in the results of theory.

We have distinguished
corresponding

three areas of measurements

in physics

with

theories of deterministic status (determinism, uncertainty,

randomness)
a. the measurements in the macrocosm which reveal the causal
(deterministic) class of Newton's cause and result, even believed that governs the
macroscopic world,
b. the measurements in the microcosm where is emerging the class of "not
accurate" , statistical and indeterminate.
c. the iterated

measurements

on non-linear systems, and chaotic non-

deterministic class, viz randomness.


Predictability is the degree to which a correct prediction or forecast of a
system's state can be made either qualitatively or quantitatively.

Contents
the concept of causality, philosophical and scientific
the differential causality of Newton
the mental mechanism of differential causality
The determinism of quantum mechanics
The course of determinism , the chaos
The non-linear systems
A model of chaotic behavior, the repeating functions
Determinism and chaos

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

The philosophical and scientific concept of causality .

The basic idea of the concept of causality emerged in our minds from the
directly observed regularities of nature. The sun rises every morning and sets every
night, the succession of the seasons, the procession of stars in the night sky, even
the more complex motions of the moon and planets, was the tinder for deeper
observations, that created deeper concepts.
In the 6th century in Ionia developed just this new concept,
according to which the universe is comprehensible, because it has
an internal order, because in nature there are regularities that allow
the disclosure of its secrets and of its function. Nature is not entirely
unpredictable, because there are rules (natural laws) that must obey.
In this order and admirable character of the universe, the ancients
gave the name World, viz beauty ().
N

professor

of

the

Physics

Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

This concept of natural laws of regularities, is inherent to the


philosophical doctrine of determinism:
The determinism

is the philosophical idea which

particularly affected scientific thought from ancient times to today. It


accepts the existence of causality, the universal and

causal

relevance of all phenomena, a general predictability of the universe.


(Theodoridis)
Nothing occurs at random, but everything for a reason and by
necessity." Democritus

Tied in this sense of determinism is the concept


of cause:
... a concept somewhat vague and ambiguous. The
most common use means something which produces a phenomenon
or a change (old anthropomorphic view) or a phenomenon firmly
inseparably bound to another, so when this occurs, (the cause)

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

follows the other (result, newest positive and scientific view)


..Theodoridis

I will not analyze this metaphysical concept of causality which is unscientific


and does not result from the methodology of science. But philosophical fashions
change at least twice a century.
(article the methodology of science vs. metaphysics)
https://www.scribd.com/doc/260025743
The concept of cause itself is of the same status with the concept of matter
of Aristotle; looking for the cause of the cause we shall end up nowhere, as we
know from the methodology of science that

the substance of the world escapes us

and its structure is our own construction.


David Hume challenged this metaphysical
doctrine of causality:
.According to
Hume, there is no contradiction
if one claims that for a cause
does not imply the result that is
attributed.

All

events

seem

entirely loose and separate. One


event follows another; but we
never

can

between

observe

them.

any

They

tie

seem

conjoined but never connected.


And as we can have no idea of anything, which never appears to our
outward sense or inward sentiment, the necessary conclusion seems
to be, that we have no idea of connexion or power at all, and that
these words are absolutely without any meaning, when employed
either in philosophical reasoning, or in private life. Neither the
relation of cause and effect nor the idea of necessary connection is
given in our sensory perceptions; both, in an important sense, are
contributed by our mind. The causal relationship and dependence is
therefore

a subjective creature(Hume on the perception of

causality David R.Shranks)

In this article, our idea is to investigate causality in physics, not in nature.


In nature we see regularities and the method to study these regularities, is

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

cognitive. Determinism thus is attached to the nature by our axiomatic system,


which we install on things, doing science. Causality is man-made.
The scientific causality
In this article we define scientific causality
physical theory,

as

the predictability of a

translated according to the scientific theories of mechanics,

quantum mechanics and chaos theory.


Now it becomes an operational concept which refers on the experimental
confirmation of the mathematical apparatus of the relevant scientific theory.
Confirmation is to verify the predictions with experimental measurements.
The core thus of the scientific causality is mental (our mind produces
determinism), but causality emerges from the experiment. The mental mechanism
of causality is the axiomatic basis and deductive reasoning of Aristotle, through
the shape
Premises, Aristotelian logic conlusion
Article: The axiomatic method: Euclid, Hilbert

https://www.scribd.com/doc/161365902
and one saying that the world is deterministic imply that is
predictable at least in principle.
So, It seems that scientific causality

exists for human beings, because

there is the logical causality, 1

The evolution of living beings would not happen if they could not watch the
causality in nature. In lower organisms this may be simple photochemical reactions,
but in human evolution the secret is hidden in the "Analytica posterioria" of Aristotle.
For Aristotle, logic is the instrument (the "organon")
by means of which we come to know anything. He proposed as
formal rules for correct reasoning the basic principles of the
categorical logic that was universally accepted by Western
philosophers until the nineteenth century.

Aristotle further supposed that this logical scheme accurately represents the
true nature of reality. . It seems that logic, confirms phenomena and phenomena logic ... on
1

Many philosophers have recently inclined toward what a recent collection of papers

calls causal republicanism the view that although the notion of causality is useful, perhaps
indispensable , in our dealings with the world, it is a category provided neither by God nor by
physics , but rather constructed by us(A.Eagle, pragmatic causation)

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

Sky 270v4.

Thought and reality are isomorphic, so the natural causality is reflected

on logic which can help us to understand the way things really are. This phrase
expresses one of the underlying regularities in nature (the hidden regularities are
superior than the obvious, Heraclitus) and this discussion has never end.

Newtons determinism (differential determinism) .


The

Newtonian

laws

of

classical mechanics have traditionally


been regarded, and theoretically are ,
infinitely accurate in their predictions,
ie approach the infinite number of
decimal digits (in practice they are as
accurate

as

the

experimental

verification), so as to allow a check of


a strict causality in this system: the
same causes corresponding same
results.
Generalizing from mechanics
to all physical systems , we may formulate this doctrine of causality as follows:
.The evolution of every physical system is
controlled by rigorous laws. These taken in conjunction with the initial
state of the system (assumed to be isolated)) determine without
ambiguity all future states and also al past ones. .So the entire
history of the system throughout time, is thus determined by the laws
and by the initial states ..(A. D 'Abro)
(these are the premises and the axioms of Aristotles scheme of science )

In Newtonian system the cause of the mechanical universe is the force, and
the result is the change of motion. This scheme does not include the inertial motion,
which is without cause. The strict laws are the laws of mechanics and of gravitation.
One of the greatest Newtons achievements is the discovery of the method
of representation of a natural law, and thus of a causal chain, through mathematics.
We talk about instantaneous description of the phenomenon of motion, how
cause and effect operate at an instant , in an infinitesimal interval (in calculus), for
instantaneous velocity, for instantaneous acceleration, and this is because in nature

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

everything is changing2, stability is an exception, the velocity of a falling body to earth


is variable, the speed of the planets around the sun is so variable, however,

in a

infinitesimal time or spatial interval all changes "freeze" the curve is straight, the
forces are stable, motion

is inertial, etc. and we have the simple effect of the

composition of stable forces with the rule of the parallelogram and composition of
motion of Galileo.
So the motion of every moment is the cause of the motion of the next, since
the phenomenon now is repeated with new initial conditions, but with the same law.
The moon because of inertia, would move in tangential trajectory towards infinity.
The gravity pulls it to the earth, but inertia does not leave it to fall on earth. The
composition of the two forces each time. gives the part of the track in next moment,
an endless tiny zig-zag.
A more precise presentation would require us that the relation which
constitutes the law is arrived at by a limiting process.
If we set x and the measure of position and velocity at any instant t the
consecutive states of a mechanical system are defined by (0,0) ,(1, 1).(n, n)
..
The permanent relation to which we have referred in the text is of the form

our known m

d 2x
F (t )
dt 2

where F is a function which defines the force, is the same for all values of n ,
and hence is the same at all instants of time. in the beginning of every time interval ,
so the phenomenon will be repeated. The relation (1) I a differential equation.
If we wish to obtain a knowledge of the states that this system will assume
after some finite interval of time, we shall have to repeat the foregoing procedure an
infinite number of times in succession. The difficulty is overcome by Newtons
discovery of the method of integration. Thanks to this powerful method it s always
possible, at theory at least, to follow the causal chain over finite intervals.
In order to give his system mathematical form ,
Newton had frst to discover the concept of the differential coefficient,
and to enunciate

the laws of motion I the form of differential

Later we will understand that everything in nature is nonlinear (chaos theory), the Newtonian
linearity is the exception.

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

equations perhaps the greatest intellectual stride that it has ever


granted to any man to make.Einstein

When the law governing the evolution of the system is known and its
mathematical transcription, the corresponding differential equation is obtained we are
in position to to derive a knowledge of the evolution of a system from any given initial
state. Thus if A represents the initial state, the differential equation , by expressing
the relationship between A and the next state B , enables us to obtain the Knowledge
of B. Since we know the state B , a second implication of the different equation yields
the state C and so on. We must remember however that , that these states occur at
instants of time that are separated only by infinitesimal intervals. All these are
contained in the functioning of the differential equation, which is the organon

of

rigorous causality

The 'mechanism' of differential causality.


To understand this process as a mechanism, we would yield some pages of
Newton's Principia, which describes the differential causality and the use of his laws,
to derive an actual effect. It is the equivalent of the method of exhaustion in
geometry, a thought experiment in motion3.
The proposal demonstrated is the known law of the areas in the central motion.
Now the applied force can be the force of gravity, and the motion, the motion of a
planet around the sun:
The areas swept by the line joining the mobile with the center of force, lie in
the

same

plane

and

are

commensurate

with

the

times

of

removal.

This is a law of Kepler, who (Kepler) observed macroscopically from Earth. Newton,
however, interpreted it. What is this interpretation? It is that he imagined rational
mental processes in motion, the infinitesimally intervals of time, which determines the
macroscopic phenomenon, an invisible mechanism of causality. The physical
causality, causality is reduced to the logic of deductive reasoning underlying
mathematics. The roots then of

this differential causality is the mathematics of

calculus, which we analyzed in the article "the tiny quantities in mathematics,


Leibniz's infinitesimals, the limits of Cauchy."
The basis of reasoning (calculus) is to consider motion in infinitesimally
intervals which intersect the orbit infinitesimally segments in which we study the area
The thought experiments were introduced by Galileo, abandoned by science in the 18th
and 19th century, and reverted with Einstein.
3

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

to

be

swept,

regardless

of

the

others!

Now we will see this mechanism of differential causality. (Figure 1 Principia)


Suppose the first infinitesimal period of time the body removes the segment AB.
Whatever kind of motion it performs as a whole, however, in this infinitesimal (very
small) time, the motion can be seen as inertial by the Newtonian sense. The smaller
dt (hence the piece of track), the more justified this identification.
This is reminiscent of the fact in the calculus that the infinitesimal parts of a
curve are linear and the exerted force will appear in the end of this dt.
The inertial motion of infinitesimal portion is the cell of arbitrary motion in direction
and measure. This motion is "indelibly entered" in the body, which can perform
two motions (Galileo) and hence is entered in the differential equation of motion (as
we saw before), in the form of the initial conditions. Position A and the inertial motion
at A (speed) are the initial conditions of the system for AB.
In the second infinitesimal portion would occur the same, but WITH NEW
INITIAL CONDITIONS . Because as
body reaches B we assume

that a

centripetal force is exerted on it, that


causes it to continue to move the portion
BC, instead of Bc.

Incise

the cC

parallel to BS which meets the BC in C.


At the end of the second infinitesimal
portion of time, the body will be in C, in
the

same

plane

with

the

ASB.

(Euclidean stereometry)
The same will happen to every
infinitesimal portion of the track resulting mobile keeps track line ABCDEF.
Readily apparent that the geometric area SAB = SBC = SCD = SDE = SEF
and adding e.g the SADS and SAFS have one to another, the same relation are as
times elapsing.
Now, if the number of these triangles increase, with dt and hence the AB,
BC, etc. tend to zero (the word tend to have special meaning in the differential
calculus) the final perimeter ABCDEF will be a curve and also the centripetal force
with which the body is drawn sequentially from the tangent of this curve, will act
continuously.
And any volatile surfaces are coplanar and analogous of the time elapsed.
This entire process is shortened by the differential formalism (differential equations)

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

which produces the result: The angular momentum of the mobile in the central
motion is constant.

The uncertainty of quantum mechanics.


Today , less than three centuries after Newton made his momentous
discovery , doupts are being cast on the validity of the rigorous causal connections of
classical science. The attack is due not to the impossibility of testing the doctrine in
practice, but to totally new discoveries in the subatomic world , where the mysterious
quantum phenomena become noticeable.
The novelty resulting from the discoveries of the quantum theory is that we
now have reasons to suspect a definite theoretical impossibility, which would render
illusory any attempt to test rigorous causal connections . The quantum theorists
under the lead of Born, Heisenberg , Bohr and Dirac , agree with classical scientists
in recognizing that the practical difficulties of testing causal connections may be
disregarded. Indeed it is very difficult on operating on perfectly isolated systems ;
first of all , because no such systems exist; and secondly , if we grant the existence
of such systems , we cannot observe their internal workings with out disturbing them
and thereby destroying their isolation. In addition , human measurements are
necessarily imprecise. These difficulties were not regarded as fatal to the doctrine ,
because approximately isolated systems could be found , and our measurements
could be so refined that they would not perceptibly disturb the magnitudes to be
measured (DAbro, the rise of the new physics).
But the quantum theorists are adamant in their claim that the recently
discovered theoretical impossibility , cannot be dismissed so lightly.
The developments of the quantum theory indicate that the uncertainty
relations

discovered by Heisenberg , prohibit us in principle

from

effecting

simultaneous accurate measurements of so-called conjugate magnitudes. This very


general rule applies in particular to position and momentum, or velocity, to time and
energy, to the electric and the magnetic intensities at the same point in a
electromagnetic field. Thus if the position of the centre of a particle is measured with
accuracy , the unpredictable disturbance , entailed by the measurement itself, causes
the particles momentum to be vague. The classical contention that by, exercising
sufficient care , we may reduce the disturbance indefinitely is here no longer valid, for
the essence of the uncertainty relations is that the limit we might hope to attain is not
vanishing but is finite. Obviously , if this principle is accepted , the state of a

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

10

mechanical system, involving as it does a simultaneous knowledge of the positions


and momenta of the various masses, cannot be known with accuracy. Consequently ,
a test of rigorous causality is impossible in quantum mechanics the same conclusion
may be extended to all departments of physics. The source of this theoretical
impossibility unsuspected by classical science , must be sought in the very nature of
things. It is intimately connected with Plancks constant h. the theoretical impossibility
would vanish if this constant , the value of which is finite, were to be infinitesimal , as
classical science had implicitly assumed.
So the "hard" deterministic model is not applicable but only if we consider the
probabilistic uncertainty a part of the deterministic image of the Universe. Moreover ,
probabilities are a priori, produced by theories. In this case, however, the idea that
the universe acts "as would act anyway" is not applicable. In the hypothetical case
that the history - or part of history - was repeated, quantum uncertainty would create
a different version of the story.
It is important to understand that the limitations imposed by the uncertainty
relations are theoretical , and not practical . Thus the uncertainty relations do not
interfere with our measuring , as accurately as we choose, the position alone or the
momentum alone of a particle. They only prevent us from executing simultaneous
measurements with accuracy. According to the quantum theorists , however, practical
difficulties in measurement may be waived aside exactly as they were in the classical
critique of the causal doctrine. We are called to decide whether a concept which
cannot be tested or a magnitude which cannot be measured , in principle (in contradistinction to in practice) should forthwith be classed as meaningless and cease to
play any part in a theoretical discussion. The dilemma is not entirely new , for it arose
in the theory of relativity. There , for reasons which have nothing in common with
practical experimental difficulties , a velocity through the stagnant ether cannot be
detected. Absolute velocity is thereby dismissed because it cannot be observed in
principle.
In view of Einsteins attitude towards absolute velocity , we might expect him
to adopt a similar one with respect to vigorous causality. But he does not do. Einstein
and Planck both retain a belief in rigorous causality , extending it even to living
matter. But those who have contributed most to the development of quantum
mechanics resist Einsteins views and insist that rigorous causality is a myth .
We have now an entirely new reality in nature around us. It is a word far
removed from our every day experience. And what about logical causality? It still
exists and instead the differential formalism gave us the mathematical treatment of

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

11

the possibilities, to manipulate the new reality. We dont forget that the mathematical
truth is an hypothetical truth, we can create mathematical models for every situation
in nature. We had created mathematical models for the ether! The differential
calculus was the model of classical causality.
With indeterminacy corrupting the experiment
and dissolving causality , all seems lost. We must wonder how there
can be a rational science. We must wonder how there can be
anything at all but chaos. The detailed determinacy claimed by
classical science, is replaced by the exactitude of probabilities, even
though it seems paradox. But quantum mechanics has discovered
precise and wonderful laws governing the probabilities, so science
overcomes its handicap of basic indeterminacy. Banesh
Hoffmann

A compromise between causality and uncertainty, attempts David Ruelee in


his book Chance and chaos in free translation
If you want to say that quantum mechanics is
deterministic, so it is: the Schrdinger equation clearly provides the
time evolution of the amplitudes of probabilities. If you want to say
that quantum mechanics is probabilistic, you can say: the only
provisions that gives, concern possibilities

The chaos theory .


Determinism quite recently, has undergone the biggest challenge. There are
phenomena that are unpredictable, viz their evolution does not show any regularity.
These phenomena are called chaotic. Such phenomena are fluid flows, the motion
of billiard balls or the evolution of the weather, even our solar system. Chaos theory,
is regarded as

a new leap in science,

made

prohibitive the prediction of a

phenomenon for a long time. In particular, in the solar system we can not predict what

will be the position of the planets after one hundred million years. (Hadjidimitriou) Yet
all these phenomena are governed by the same deterministic laws of Newton. So
why the motion is not, in this case, regular and therefore predictable?
The story of chaos is a mathematical story and is a property of some
solutions of a system of non-linear equations. It has the origins on the three-body
problem, studied by

Poincar, who revealed chaos in the Solar system. He

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

12

understood that very small effects can be magnified through iteration. Postulated "A
minimal cause that escapes attention can cause a significant effect".
Who can doubt that the motion of the pair of Earth-Moon is not affected by
the pull of the Sun or Jupiter etc.? The problem is (and it just raised by Poincar) that
making the simple step from two to three bodies (for example by trying to include the
effects of the Sun on the Earth-Moon system) equations of Newton, because of
formal mathematical reasons, can not be solved: a set of approximations is needed
to "get closer" an answer (the series describing the orbits of three interacting celestial
bodies, not only converge in some preset solutions, but instead diverge!). . Each
approach is less than the previous and Poincar hoped that after a potentially infinite
number of such corrections to get the correct answer. But the result was shocking!
There were a few orbits, for which a small gravitational pull from a third body, after
iterations, could be disorientated the motion of the planet, even to expel it, out of the
planetary system.
.. Poincare disclosed that chaos , or the possibility
of generating chaos is the substance of a non-linear system, and
that even a fully determinate system, as rotating planets, could have
unspecified evolution. In one aspect he understood how micro
effects could be magnified through iteration. He distinguished that a
simple system, can end in an uncontrolled and remarkably complex
behavior ...... .Turbulent mirror

The non-linear systems .

A linear process is one in which, if a change in any


variable at some initial time produces a change in the same or some
other variable , twice as large a change at the same initial time will
produce twice as large a change at the same latter time. You can
substitute half or five times or a hundred times for twice and
the description remains valid. Edward Lorenz in the Essence of
chaos

A linear system is a dynamical system whose evolution is a linear process.


All systems that are not li near are called non-linear systems. In these
systems , the change in a variable at a initial time can lead to a change in the same
or a different variable at a later time that is no proportional to the change at the initial
time.

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

13

Nature is intrinsically non-linear and nonlinearity is rather the rule than the
exception.
.it does not say in the Bible that all laws of nature
are expressible linearly .Enrico Fermi
.Using a term like non-linear science is like
referring to the bulk

of zoology as the study of non-elephants

animals .Stanislaw Ulam

For a linear system , we can combine two solutions , and the result is a
solution for the system. Here is based

the reducibility of classical science (the

perception that the world is an aggregation of parties). The above property is called
linearity and it makes the linear systems mathematically tractable. We can break up

a linear problem into little pieces , solve each piece separately and put them back
together to make the complete solution.
Nonlinear systems in the other hand cannot be broken up into little pieces
and solved separately. They have to be dealt with in their fully complexity. They are
ubiquitous and their behavior differ qualitatively from the behavior of linear systems,
they can display a variety of behaviors including chaos.
The linear systems were studied for a long time although they are an
exception, because all linear problems are solvable and nonlinear problems are
seldom exactly solvable. Before the advent of computers , almost nothing could be
said about the behavior of nonlinear systems. Also nonlinear systems of interest, are
approximately linear for small perturbations about a point of equilibrium. The
nonlinear equations concern specifically discontinuous phenomena such as
explosions, sudden breaks In materials, or tornados. Although they share some
universal characteristics, nonlinear solutions tend to be individual and peculiar. In
contrast to regular curves from linear equations, the graphic representation of
nonlinear equations shows breaks, loops, recursions all kinds of turbulences. Using
nonlinear models, on can identify critical points in the system at which a minute
modification can have a disproportionate effect (a sufficient condition for chaos).

A model of chaotic behavior , iterative processes .


.Chaos is not related

necessarily with complex

systems and abstract concepts. We can find chaotic behavior in


simple systems and thereby study the indeterminate, in its most
basic form. Even in the most simple quadratic equations we have
chaos, if simply we handle them as iterative functions, ie. if we have
every so

a feedback of its

value from the previous result

(continuous synthesis of function with itself). (Anastasia Karakosta)

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

14

The nonlinear quadratic y = rx (1-x) has rich chaotic behaviour.


This will give us all the mathematical properties of chaos, when translated into
a demographic model published by biologist Robert May, on the standards of the
work of Velhulst4.
It is called logistic map, and in the reproducibility of manipulation takes the
form
+1 =p (1-) (1)
It seems to be generally acknowledged now that this logistic function is the
basis of modern chaos theory , although Verhulst himself had absolutely no idea that
something like that lay hidden in his formula.
This is a prototype of a nonlinear iterative process where we calculate the
evolution of a population , by starting with some initial population x 0 (between 0 and
1) and applying the formula again and again thus obtaining the sequence of the
values

of

the

population,

x1

,x2

x3

,and

so

on.

where x is the number of the population between v and v + 1 period (year, decade,
etc.).
In the formula , p is the growth coefficient, i.e this period the number of births
is p times bigger of the previous period and x0 the initial population. These are the
initial conditions, and as we shall see, tiny difference in initial parameters will result in
a completely different behavior of a complex system . Even the smallest deviation

say in the hundredth or thousandth decimals- from the initial value of x 0, may have a
significant effect in the end result , in a totally different evolution. It is important to
notice that also our computers which work with a fixed number of decimals , are
subject to this type of unpredictability , however powerfull they may be. (Marcel
Ausloos, Michel Dirickx))

At the moment when the system becomes chaotic the size of the population
at each step in the iteration will be different from its value at any of the previous
steps. There is no stability or regularity any more.
Let us follow this evolution of a system.
When carrying out this iteration scheme, one finds that the resulting evolution.
When p<1 the population sequence tends to 0 independently of the exact
value of p (the births are less than deaths).
For 1<p<3 the population sequence tends to the limit value 1, for p<2 this
happens in a monotone way, but for 2<p<3 in an oscillatory way.
4

Verhulst principle was even applied to economics and sociology. The work of

Verhulst received so much attention all of a sudden :its application in chaos theory.

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

15

For 3<r<3,5699 the sequence is periodic 5 and its period depends on p. first
we have an oscillation with period 2 (maximum and minimum) , then an oscillation
between 4 different local extremes (period 4) and subsequently

with period 8,

perio16 and so on. Now the system can go from orderly to chaotic behavior. For
most values or 3,5699<p<4 the sequence shows no regularity any more , it is chaotic.
We see that the main characteristic of a chaotic system is this extreme
sensibility to a change of the initial conditions. Two sequences with almost identical
values for x0 , will at first behave in a virtually identical manner , but they suddenly
diverge so that from then on there is no correlation between the two oscillations. A
similar sensitivity is also observed with respect to a change in the growth parameter
p.

Order and chaos coexist in nonlinear systems

system

reaches

in

critical

value

This

but
is

chaos occurs when the


the

route

to

chaos.

Determinism and chaos .


As we have
unpredictable

linked determinism with predictability, chaotic behavior is


and

... in fact,

therefore

non-deterministic.

motion is always deterministic, i.e the

same starting situation always corresponds to the same final state. If


we were able to just know the initial state with immense precision,
and further if we were able to perform numerical calculations with
absolute accuracy (for example in the 20th decimal place, without
approximation), then we would not have problem in the predictability
of a phenomenon, and so between regular and chaotic motions. But
it never is possible to do measurements with absolute precision, e.g
the position and velocity of a body with absolute precision. ... ..
(Hatzidimitriou)

This view of professor Hatzidimitriou refers in causality itself, in causality as


an axiom, where the principle of causality is non refutable, i.e, not confirmed by
experience, since it is an axiom that precedes experiences. For example, this
principle is accepted a priori in physics in a simple form, it reads: Every effect has a
cause. That is that chaotic systems are deterministic but not predictable
But this is metaphysics, as there is nothing accepted a priori in methodology
of physics. In practice, we can never specify (or know) the initial conditions exactly
(Heinenberg). So there will always be some uncertainty in the initial conditions in
5

Periodic sequence with period p is when we have an+p=an for all n

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

16

dynamical systems , as two kettles of soup heat under the same conditions, they
will behave differently. But it makes sense to characterize the behavior of a system in
terms of its response to this uncertainty . Basically, a chaotic system is one in which

any uncertainty in the state at time

t=0 leads to exponentially larger uncertainties

in the state as time goes on, and a non-chaotic system is one in which any initial
uncertainty in the state decays away or at least stays steady with time.
In the former (chaotic) case, given that we can't know the initial conditions to
infinite precision, there will always be some time, after which, the predictions of the
behavior of the system become essentially meaningless - the uncertainty becomes
so large that it fills up most of the state space. This is effectively similar to the
behavior of a truly non-deterministic (e.g. quantum) system, in that our ability to make
predictions about it, is limited, chaotic systems are non-deterministic, but random .
In this connection the scientific determinism is illustrated in the diagram:
Newtonian
Newtonian

differential
determinism

causality
+

uncertainty

rigorous
principles

determinism

uncertainty

Nonlinear systems + iteration randomness

Sources .
www mpantes. gr
Mathematics and the physical world, Morris Klein, Dover
, ,
H , Frank Wilczek ()
he rise of the new physics A.D Abro (Dover)
..
(, mpantes on scribd)
Gohn Briggs , F. David Peat KATO
. ()
Logistic map and the route to chaos: Marcel Ausloos, Michel Dirickx
primer on Determinism Door John Earman (klwver the language of science)
Great Physicists from Galileo to Einstein George Gamow (Dover)
David Ruelle ()

QED R.Feynman T
Non linear systems for beginners, Lui Lam

George Mpantes mathematics teacher .


www.mpantes.gr

Determinism, uncertainty and chaos by G.Mpantes

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