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Samuel C. Fletcher
preprint description
If the force on a particle fails to satisfy a Lipschitz condition at a point, it relaxes one of the conditions necessary for a locally unique solution to the particle’s equation of motion. I examine the most discussed example of this failure of determinism in classical mechanics—that of Norton’s dome—and the range of current objections against it. Finding there are many different conceptions of classical mechanics appropriate and useful for different purposes, I argue that no single conception is preferred. Instead of also arguing for or against determinism, I stress the wide variety of pragmatic considerations that, in a specific context, may lead one usefully and legitimately to adopt one conception over another in which determinism may or may not hold.

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