Laplace’s demon

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Laplace’s demon

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Do you need to know what Demons are in scientific theory, or about Laplace’s in particular?

For Laplace’s it’s an examination of the deterministic nature of classical physics, before quantum thought and random chance entered in to the thought process. It just posits that if some entity, doesn’t matter what or who, somehow knew the exact state and condition of all the particles in the universe, they would be able to work out both all of history and all of the future behavior and states for those particles by working forward or backward from their starting point. That has some interesting applications for our thoughts about free will and self determination but is also fairly limited utility and it’s axioms are not necessarily well supported.

Laplace’s Demon is the name of a way of thinking about (and trying to prove) a philosophy called Determinism

Determinism is the the idea that free will doesn’t exist. Every choice you could make and every thing that could happen is the effect of all the causes that happened earlier

If we consider science as a study of what causes lead to what effects, there’s a natural logical side-effect, if you assume that every cause leads to a predictable effect

Laplace suggested that if there was an omniscient being that could know the entire state of the universe, with infinite precision, down to the motion of every single atom, they would know the entire universe. Knowing the current state would allow them to know the entire history of the universe, because they could mathematically work out every cause of the current state of the universe. Knowing the current state would allow them to work out every single effect, therefore knowing the entire future.

Later (English) translations called this omniscient being a demon, because it’s a strong argument in favour of determinism and against free will.

Modern science has to deal with thermodynamics and quantum mechanics. Both of these suggest that knowing the current state of the universe, even to an infinite precision, is not enough information to derive previous causes or future effects