Approximation and Idealization : Why the Difference Matters

  title={Approximation and Idealization : Why the Difference Matters},
  author={John D. Norton},
It is proposed that we use the term “approximation” for inexact description of a target system and “idealization” for another system whose properties also provide an inexact description of the target system. Since systems generated by a limiting process can often have quite unexpected, even inconsistent properties, familiar limit processes used in statistical physics can fail to provide idealizations, but merely provide approximations. 

From This Paper

Figures, tables, and topics from this paper.

Explore Further: Topics Discussed in This Paper


Publications referenced by this paper.
Showing 1-10 of 30 references

Nonconservation of momentum in classical mechanics,

Lee, Chunghyoung
Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, • 2011

Supertasks", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Laraudogoitia, Jon Pérez
(Spring 2011 Edition), • 2011

Losing energy in classical, relativistic and quantum mechanics

D. Atkinson
Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, • 2007

Whose Devil? Which Details?

Belot, Gordon
Philosophy of Science, • 2005

Approximations, Idealizations, and Models in Statistical Mechanics,

Liu, Chuang
Erkenntnis • 2004

Similar Papers

Loading similar papers…