Science Library - free educational site

Black holes

Laplace's Demon

In a treatise about causal determinism, A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities, Laplace proposes an imaginary all-knowing intelligence ["Une intelligence... Rien ne serait incertain pour elle, et l'avenir comme le passé, serait présent à ses yeux." (An intelligence ... nothing is uncertain to it, and the future like the past is like the present to its eyes)] :

"We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present to its eyes."

Laplace did not use the term 'demon' - it was attributed later, in a similar vein to Maxwell's demon (a thought experiment demonstrating a potential case of violation of the second law of thermodynamics).

Black Holes

Content © Andrew Bone. All rights reserved. Created : January 17, 2016 Last updated :March 26, 2016

Latest Item on Science Library:

The most recent article is:

Air Resistance and Terminal Velocity

View this item in the topic:

Mechanics

and many more articles in the subject:

Subject of the Week

Mathematics

Mathematics is the most important tool of science. The quest to understand the world and the universe using mathematics is as old as civilisation, and has led to the science and technology of today. Learn about the techniques and history of mathematics on ScienceLibrary.info.

Mathematics

Great Scientists

Benjamin Franklin

1706 - 1790

Benjamin Franklin was an American scientist, politician, statesman, publisher, author, inventor, philanthropist, and economic theorist. He was a founding father of the United States, and a symbol of the Enlightment and scientific revolution.

Benjamin Franklin
ZumGuy Network Promotions

Quote of the day...

Ancient or not, the Seulpierre family as you will find it today is not really that different to any other family, here or there. Which means it is in every way unique.

ZumGuy Internet Promotions

Website content services