Boltzmann's Approach to Statistical Mechanics

In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Ludwig Boltzmann explained how irreversible macroscopic laws, in particular the second law of thermodynamics, originate in the time-reversible laws of microscopic physics. Boltzmann’s analysis, the essence of which I shall review here, is basically correct. The most famous criticisms of Boltzmann’s later work on the subject have little merit. Most twentieth century innovations – such as the identification of the state of a physical system with a probability distribution on its phase space, of its thermodynamic entropy with the Gibbs entropy of , and the invocation of the notions of ergodicity and mixing for the justification of the foundations of statistical mechanics – are thoroughly misguided.
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John Earman (2006). The “Past Hypothesis”: Not Even False. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 37 (3):399-430.
Jill North (2010). An Empirical Approach to Symmetry and Probability. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 41 (1):27-40.
D. A. Lavis (2005). Boltzmann and Gibbs: An Attempted Reconciliation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 36 (2):245-273.

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