I understand that chaos theory states that any small event or choice determines the next set of events or actions.

What, if any, are the counterarguments given regarding the validity of chaos theory?

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    De minimis, you haven't provided any argument for chaos theory. What is your underlying justification for it?
    – virmaior
    Aug 13, 2014 at 1:47
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    What definition of chaos theory are we working with here? As far as the mathematical field of dynamical systems (and therefore I) is concerned, chaos theory is fact. You can't exactly argue against mathematical proofs without trying to dismantle the foundations of the logic.
    – commando
    Aug 13, 2014 at 2:09
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    I don't know the difference between mathematical chaos theory and the other kind. If you would like, enlighten me.
    – user8669
    Aug 13, 2014 at 2:19
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    and i would very much like to know when / on what basis basis chaos theory is applied outside mathematics. good question. plato.stanford.edu/entries/chaos/#WhaChaThe if you can't digest then i'll give it a shot for you later...
    – user6917
    Aug 13, 2014 at 3:04
  • @user3293056 not all trying to "shout someone down". The question is unclear. The SEP link you post states that it's not even clear what chaos theory means. The OP needs to state a clear question if they want an answer on a Q&A site. Asking what possible criticisms exist of an indefinite term isn't enough.
    – virmaior
    Aug 13, 2014 at 8:42

2 Answers 2


You're mis-stating Chaos theory. You said: "I understand that chaos theory states that any small event or choice determines the next set of events or actions."

But actually you need to say that SOME systems are extremely sensitive to small changes in their starting point. Other systems are stable.

So there can be no counterexample. If you have a system that's stable in a region around a point, that's an example of a system that doesn't happen to be chaotic. It's not a violation of chaos theory.

That's like saying, Some animals are cats. Can there be a counterexample? A hippopotamus is an animal that's not a cat. But it's not a counterexample to the statement that SOME animals are cats.

Some systems are highly sensitive to changes in their input. Some are not. Some systems are chaotic, some are not.

And you can't "argue" against chaotic behavior. You can just "do the math," as they say. The points around the boundary of the Mandelbrot set exhibit chaotic behavior. Tiny changes in your starting point produces strikingly different behavior under iteration. That's a fact. You can't argue against it any more than you could argue against trees.


There are no counter-arguments, it's a mathematical fact that applies to our best physical theories.

  • I agree, but can you say more to justify your argument? Aug 14, 2014 at 12:02

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